06/10/2016, 09.30
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Syrian conflict: humanitarian aid reaches Darayya, under government siege

For the first time since 2012 medicines and food supplies reach the suburb south-west of the capital. The area was among the first to launch a protest against President Assad. Food, medicines and flour delievered. Enough to meet the needs of a month. The US coalition ready to attack Manbij, a stronghold of the Islamic state in the north.


Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The first humanitarian aid convoy, carrying food and essential aid, along with other basic necessities, yesterday evening reached Darayya, a suburb 12 km south-west of Damascus which has been under siege for months. It is the first shipment of food to reach the area since 2012. It was one of the first in the country of protest against President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian government in the spring of 2011.

The trucks contained food, medicine and flour for the preparation of bread. In recent days another shipment of aid had already reached Darayya, but there were only small quantities of medicines and other basic necessities. And there were no groceries.

In April, the United Nations had issued a warning stating that at least 8 thousand people, the vast majority civilians, were suffering under the government army siege.

The UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura confirmed yesterday the green light from Damascus for the distribution of aid in 19 areas under siege. At least 600 thousand people live within these areas, most of them in extreme need and difficulty.

Tamam Mehrez, executive director of the Red Crescent in Syria, reports that aid delivered yesterday will be enough to satisfy the needs of a month. Upon delivery there were not many people waiting because "people no longer believe in promises" and "fear of attacks so they no longer gather more in groups or clusters".

Meanwhile, on the military front, the US armed forces have now reached one of the strongholds of the Islamic State (IS) in the north of the country and are preparing to launch the attack. The goal of the US-led coalition is Manbij town, located along the route that links the Turkish border with Raqqa, the "capital" of the jihadists in Syria. It is an essential route used by militants for stocks and supplies of men and equipment.

The Syrian conflict broke out in March 2011 as a civil uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. So far it has caused at least 280 thousand dead and originated an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, with millions of refugees.

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