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Syria: Overseas Aid

Question for Department for International Development

UIN 133804, tabled on 21 March 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment her Department has made of the merits of using unarmed drones to deliver humanitarian aid in Syria.

Answered on

27 March 2018

Aid delivered by road by trusted humanitarian partners is by far the most effective way to meet needs in Syria and to ensure that it reaches those most in need. We have, however, examined all options as part of our determination to do everything we can to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people.

Airdrops, manned or using drones, are not capable of meeting either the scale of needs or delivering many of the kinds of aid that could address the priority needs that we see in Syria (e.g. safe drinking water, health support). Furthermore, we judge that such an operation would carry a high level of risk because the consent is needed of those who control the airspace and those on the ground that could threaten aircraft. There is nothing to suggest that the Assad regime would provide such consent, given that it continues to use the denial of aid as a weapon of war.