Aid convoys arrive in besieged Syrian town of Madaya

Vehicles carrying humanitarian aid reache Madaya, where many people are starving to death under siege of regime

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jan 12, 2016

Aid convoys entered the besieged Syrian town of Madaya near the Lebanese border on Monday as part of an agreement between warring sides in areas where thousands of people are trapped.

Vehicles from the International Committee of the Red Cross arrived in Madaya from Damascus in which thousands of civilians are starving to death because of a siege by Syrian regime forces.

The Red Cross also announced on its Twitter account that aid vehicles are also leaving for Foua and Kefraya which are surrounded by anti-regime fighters in Idlib Province.

Trucks were to simultaneously enter Madaya, which has been blockaded for months by Assad forces and where aid agencies have warned of widespread starvation, and al Foua and Kefraya in Idlib Province, which are encircled by opposition fighters. 

The operation to deliver much needed food and medicine to counter major shortages in the areas was agreed on last week. Activists have reported several deaths from starvation over the past weeks in the affected areas especially in Madaya.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the aid was expected to reach the towns in the coming hours.

More than 20,000 children in the besieged Syrian town of Madaya are at risk of further hunger and starvation, the United Nations Children's Fund said on Friday.

"In the last year, only 10 percent of all requests for UN inter-agency convoys to hard-to-reach and besieged areas were approved and delivered," the UN said.

According to the UN, up to 4.5 million people in Syria live in hard-to-reach areas, including nearly 400,000 people in 15 besieged locations who do not have access to the life-saving aid they urgently need.

Living conditions in the town have further deteriorated as winter set in. Electricity is non-existent and many people use what is left of their destroyed homes for heating purposes, the report said.

According to local sources in Syria, food prices shot up dramatically since the regime’s blockade began. A kilogram of rice reportedly now costs around $115.

TRTWorld and agencies