01/19/2016, 10.40
SYRIA
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Syria, new aid convoys enter besieged towns

Aid convoys with food, medicines and fuel have reached Fuaa and Kafraya besieged by rebel groups and Madaya, controlled by forces loyal to the government. First aid have also entered the city of Zabadani. A joint delegation of aid officials was not able to enter Fuaa and Kafraya for “security reasons”. 

 

Damascus (AsiaNews/Agencies) - New aid convoys have made new deliveries of fuel, food and medicine to four besieged Syrian towns, humanitarian officials said on Tuesday. The United Nations, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Syria's Red Crescent (SARC) said in a joint statement that simultaneous deliveries reached the towns on Monday.

They said fuel had entered Fuaa and Kafraya, which are under rebel siege, and Madaya, which is under a government siege by army loyal to Bashar al-Assad. Food and medicine was also delivered to the rebel-held town of Zabadani, which was not included in similar aid deliveries to Fuaa, Kafraya and Madaya this month.

All four towns were part of an agreement last year to end fighting and allow the entry of humanitarian aid. However that a joint delegation of aid officials was not able to enter Fuaa and Kafraya to carry out assessments of humanitarian needs. "The joint team had to postpone the mission to Fuaa and Kafraya upon receipt of reports from armed groups that more time was needed to finalise security arrangements in areas under their control," the statement said.

According to United Nations sources, up to 4.5 million people live in disputed areas that are difficult to reach for humanitarian agencies, including at least 400,000 in 15 places under siege.

One of them is Madaya, 25 kilometres north of Damascus and 11 kilometres from the Lebanese border, which has been besieged since early July by government forces and their allies, Lebanon's Shia Islamist Hezbollah movement. Aid lorries have also reached Foah and Kefraya, two northern towns besieged by rebel forces where the humanitarian situation is also said to be dire. Some 20,000 people have been stuck in the two towns since March without outside help, around 1,000 in Zabadani. 

Interviewed by AsiaNews recently Apostolic nuncio to Damascus, bishop Mario Zenari, said using hunger and thirst as a weapon of war is an “outrage”. A crime, added the Vatican diplomat, that the international media have reported too late and they should pay more attention.

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