Aid Sent to Beseiged Syrian Town Where Thousands are Trapped and Starving
An aid convoy was sent to a besieged the Syrian town of Madaya Monday, where thousands of people are trapped and starving.
Reuters reports dozens of emergency vehicles set out from Damascus to the border town, as part of an agreement between the country's warring sides.
— Richard Colebourn (@rcolebourn) January 11, 2016
The agreement allowed for food and medical supplies to be delivered to Madaya, after the town had been besieged by pro-Syrian government forces. Two other villages, al Foua and Kefraya in the northwestern province of Idlib, are also receiving aid.
The blockade of Madaya and other areas has proved a contentious issue among Syrian rebel leaders, who told a United Nations envoy that they refused to attend scheduled talks with the Sryian government this month unless the sieges were lifted.
According to the civil war-tracking organization, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least ten people have starved to death in Madaya. Opposition leaders claim dozens have died, although this is unconfirmed.
One rebel activist said that people had resorted to eating plants and leaves.
The blockade began six months ago as part of a campaign between the Syrian army and Lebanon, to reestablish Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's control over border towns.
Hezbollah, the Assad regime's Lebanese ally, have denied the reports of starving civilians in Madaya, instead accusing opposition leaders of preventing people from leaving.
Blockades have been utilized strategically in the Syrian civil war, with both sides attempting to exert pressure on one another by cutting off aid to besieged areas.
Aid agencies hoped they would have easier access to Madaya following a September ceasefire agreement, but their efforts have been complicated by ongoing nearby warfare despite the true.
Nearly 40,000 are currently in danger of starvation in Madaya, according to aid agencies.
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