Aid convoys arrive in Syrian besieged towns near Damascus

The UN estimates that 600,000 people are trapped in 18 besieged areas across Syria
The UN estimates that 600,000 people are trapped in 18 besieged areas across Syria

Aid has been delivered to four besieged towns in Syria for the first time in almost six months, the International Committee of the Red Cross says.

Seventy-one lorries reached rebel-held Madaya and Zabadani, near Damascus, and government-controlled Foah and Kefraya, in Idlib province, on Sunday.

They brought food, medical supplies and hygiene kits for 60,000 people.

Last week, the UN suspended aid deliveries across Syria for 48 hours after a deadly attack on a convoy.

The US and Russia, which support opposing sides in the country’s five-year civil war, have blamed each other for the incident.

It came as a week-old truce brokered by the two powers collapsed and the government’s bombardment of rebel-held areas of Aleppo resumed.

A monitoring group said dozens of air strikes hit the northern city and its surrounding countryside overnight, killing and wounding a number of people.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has documented the deaths of 237 people, including 38 children, in Aleppo since last Monday, when the truce ended.

The ICRC, which managed the latest aid deliveries jointly with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the UN, announced that 53 lorries reached Madaya and Zabadani on Sunday afternoon.

Some 40,000 people in the towns have been besieged since June 2015 by the Syrian army and allied fighters from Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement.

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