UN reports new deaths in besieged Syrian town

UN reports eight deaths since January 1 caused by lack of proper medical care in Syrian town under siege

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

Syrians evacuate Moadamiyet al-Sham on October 29, 2013

The United Nations has reported that eight people, including children died last month due to not receiving proper medical care in a besieged Syrian town that suffered a chemicals weapon attack in 2013.

In a Sunday update, the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported a "sharp deterioration of the humanitarian situation" in Moadimayet al-Sham, southwest of capital Damascus.

Rebel-held Moadimayet al-Sham has been under government siege since 2012, though conditions there improved after a truce deal in 2014, which allowed international agencies to make aid deliveries to the town.

But OCHA said the town is going through "increased closures" since December, warning that sporadic bombing of the town is worsening the already "dire" living conditions, as prices of food and other commodities have soared in recent months.

The agency said the town has been short of electricity supply since November 2012, adding that fuel shortages were prompting residents to burn plastic to stay warm, causing health issues.

OCHA said the UN and International Committee of the Red Crescent are still waiting for approval after requesting access to the town twice in January.

Syrian Red Crescent workers stand near their vehicles prior to inspection from rebels on January 11, 2016.

Moadamiyet al Sham was targeted with a sarin gas attack allegedly carried out by the Assad regime in August 2013, which left as much as 1,729 people dead.

The UN estimates some 486,700 people in Syria are living under siege, imposed mostly by government forces, but also by rebels and the DAESH terrorist group.

Last week, UN's aid chief said almost 75 percent of UN requests for aid deliveries to such areas were ignored by the Syrian government.

In August 2015, UN reported that over 250,000 people were killed since the war began in Syria in March 2011, as 12 million people were displaced.