The first United Nations convoy carrying aid to Syrians stricken by a deadly earthquake crossed from Turkey on Thursday, border crossing sources said, after the UN's envoy to Syria said assistance was desperately needed there.
Monday's huge earthquake devastated swathes of southern Turkey and northern Syria. It stuck at night and was followed by powerful aftershocks, and the death count from it neared 16,000 on Thursday as frustration simmered over the slow delivery of aid.
The UN convoy entered Syria at the Bab Al Hawa crossing, the sources said.
UN special Syria envoy Geir Pedersen earlier said people impacted by the earthquake needed "more of absolutely everything" in terms of aid.
"We need lifesaving aid," Mr Pedersen told reporters in Geneva. "It's desperately needed by civilians wherever they are, irrespective of borders and boundaries. We need it urgently through the fastest, most direct and most effective routes. They need more of absolutely everything."
Mr Pedersen said the UN had been assured the first assistance would cross from Turkey into Syria on Thursday, calling for assurances that there would be no political hindrances to getting aid to where it was most needed.
"We had a problem because the roads leading to the border crossing (between Turkey and Syria) had been destroyed," Mr Pedersen said. "But we were assured that we will be able to get through the first assistance today."
Prior to the earthquake, the UN had estimated that more than 4 million people in northwest Syria, many displaced by the 12-year conflict there, depended on cross-border aid.
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