First aid convoy bound for NW Syria from Turkey nears border -sources

Rescuers search for survivors at the site of a collapsed building, in the aftermath of an earthquake, in Latakia, Syria February 9, 2023. REUTERS/Yamam al Shaar/File Photo

(Reuters) - The first convoy of humanitarian assistance for people in northwest Syria since Monday's devastating earthquake is en route to the southern Turkish border with the hope of crossing on Thursday, two aid sources told Reuters.

One source said the convoy included six trucks.

A Turkish official said the Bab al-Hawa border crossing was open for humanitarian aid and authorities will open a few more crossings after two days if security is sound.

The United Nations has described access to the opposition-controlled area of Syria through Bab al-Hawa as a "lifeline" for some 4 million people who it says rely on humanitarian assistance.

Those needs have only grown in the aftermath of the earthquake, which has left at least 1,730 people dead and destroyed hundreds of buildings in the opposition-held area, according to rescue workers.

U.N. aid from Turkey served 2.7 million people in northwest Syria per month last year compared with 43,500 people a month who received aid from routes within Syria since August 2021.

(Reporting by Maya Gebeily in Kahramanmaras and Orhan Coskun in Ankara; Writing by Timour Azhari; Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Hugh Lawson)

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