A quarter of a million of children live in terror in besieged areas of Syria, where barrel bombs, air strikes and shelling are a daily occurrence, charity Save the Children said on Wednesday.
Deprived of food, children are forced to eat boiled leaves and animal feed, while living in constant fear of attack, Save the Children said in a report published ahead of peace talks expected to start in Geneva in the coming days.
"Fear has taken control. Children now wait for their turn to be killed. Even adults live only to wait for their turn to die," Save the Children quoted one mother in Eastern Ghouta as saying.
More than a quarter of a million people have been killed in the five-year-old Syrian war, which has created a massive refugee crisis in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and the European Union.
The United Nations estimates there are almost 500,000 people living under siege in Syria, out of 4.6 million who are in areas hard to reach with aid.
The cessation of hostilities that came into force more than a week ago has made it easier for the United Nations and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) to reach such people, but fighting persists in some places and opposition groups said not enough aid was getting through.
Save the Children said aid deliveries were only a tiny fraction of what was needed, and people in besieged areas were not being allowed to leave to receive medical treatment.
"Children are dying from lack of food and medicines in parts of Syria just a few kilometers from warehouses that are piled high with aid," said Misty Buswell, Save the Children regional director of advocacy, media and communications.
"Families (Save the Children interviewed) spoke of sick babies dying at checkpoints, vets (veterinary surgeons) treating humans, and children forced to eat animal feed as they cower in basements from air strikes" she said in a statement.