Syrian government approves aid delivery across frontlines

RAMI AL SAYED/ AFP

The Syrian government has approved humanitarian aid delivery across the frontlines of the country's 12-year civil war, state media said on Friday.

The move could speed up the arrival of help for millions of people affected by Monday's deadly quake.

Aid distribution will take place in cooperation with the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, state media said, to "guarantee the arrival of this aid to those who need it".

The U.N. has pushed for aid to flow more freely into Syria, especially into the country's northwest - where it estimated more than 4 million people already required aid before the quake - via frozen frontlines and through crossings with Turkey.

More than 3,200 people have died in Syria from the earthquake, with many more injured and hundreds of thousands displaced.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that the death toll in Turkey had risen to 19,388.

Dozens of planeloads of aid have arrived in areas held by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government since Monday but little has reached the northwest, leading many residents to say they feel left alone.

State media reported that the government had also declared areas worst affected by the quake, Lattakia, Hama, Aleppo and Idlib, disaster zones and would set up a rehabilitation fund.

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