4 February 2015 – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is “extremely concerned” about images circulating on social media showing WFP food boxes bearing Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) labels.
The Programme says it is trying to verify the authenticity of the photographs, where they were taken and the circumstances surrounding this incident. “WFP condemns this manipulation of desperately needed food aid inside Syria,” Muhannad Hadi, WFP’s Emergency Regional Coordinator for Syria, said in a statement this week.
“We urge all parties to the conflict to respect humanitarian principles and allow humanitarian workers including our partners to deliver food to the most vulnerable and hungry families,” he added.
The photos seem to have been taken in Dayr Hafr, in eastern rural Aleppo governorate about 50 kilometres from Aleppo city. The Programme last reached Dayr Hafr on 5 August, 2014, through a cross-line convoy that delivered 1,700 food rations, enough to feed 8,500 people for one month.
Last September, ISIL raided WFP’s partner the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) warehouses there where undistributed WFP food rations may have been stored.
The WFP warns that all areas controlled by ISIL are security hot spots, which severely limits the ability to monitor food distributions.
The Programme has operated in Syria since the start of the crisis without interruptions, delivering assistance to more than 4 million people every month – in addition to over 1.8 million refugees in the neighbouring countries.
If you would like to know how GAiN is working with Syrian refugees and IDPs, click here.