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As Syria Bound Truck Resists Search in Turkey, ICP Asks Amos, Who Talks Surgical

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 2 -- When a truck said to carry aid was stopped in Turkey's Hatay province last month, an order to search it by the local prosecutor in charge of terrorism was overridden.

  On January 2, Inner City Press asked UN Humanitarian chief Valerie Amos for the UN position on whether aid transports can be searched, and the impact on aid of refusing such searches. UN Video here from Minute 34:17, YouTube video here and embedded below.

Amos' answer largely focused on Syrian governmental roadblocks, including for a time not wanting surgical supplies transported in the the country. But what about the allegation that the Turkish truck had arms and munitions, and resisted search? Doesn't that hurt all aid?

Amos said, "when aid goes into a country, it goes through normal customs procedures. What sometimes then happens, we've seen this a lot in Syria, there are a lot of check points. In Syria, government gives clearances. So the convoys have the paperwork and they can go through the checkpoints. At others, there are demand to look to see... Last year, for example, the government of Syria was insisting that surgical equipment was not carried on convoys. We want our trucks to go through normally, and then be left alone."

In the case in Turkey, the truck hadn't yet reached Syria. According to reports, "Prosecutor Özcan Sisman, who was also tasked with probing the Reyhanli bombing last spring that killed dozens of people, instructed gendarmerie to make an official search of the truck by emptying its cargo. The gendarmerie, however, was prevented from obeying the prosecutor as it received a written order from the governor instructing them not to search the truck.

"The truck was allegedly planning to cross into Syria from the Öncüpinar Border Gate of another bordering town, Kilis. But after the development, the truck returned to Reyhanli from where it embarked for Syria. The truck was hired by a person who has links with a humanitarian foundation," IHH.

It seems that to resist a search in your own country of aid for the country next door might hurt all aid. We'll see. Watch this site.


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