Food aid finally reaches Syria′s Daraya | News | DW | 10.06.2016
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Food aid finally reaches Syria's Daraya

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent and UN have delivered food aid to the Damascus suburb of Daraya for the first time since the area came under siege in 2012. The aid convoy included medical equipment as well as food.

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) said it delivered medical supplies and food as part of a relief effort coordinated with the United Nations. SARC said supplies arrived shortly before midnight on Thursday.

Government allows relief

The UN corrected earlier published information on Friday, saying it was still waiting for approval from Damascus to reach two besieged areas.

"The UN is able to deliver to 17 out of 19 besieged areas," Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the UN's humanitarian office (OCHA), told the French news agency AFP.

Syria's government has so far withheld written approval for Al Wa'er in Homs and Zabadani in rural Damascus, the UN said. One area where permission has not been sought is Deir Ezzor, which is besieged by the Islamic State group (IS). The second is Yarmuk, where the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has partial access.

Last month, key international power brokers demanded more access for humanitarian goods into Syria and said they would push for air drop of aid into besieged area if there was no progress on shipments on the ground.

But progress on the airlifts has been slow and many have not received aid. The UN prefers land convoys as they are easier and more cost effective.

The lost suburb of Daraya

The UN estimates that 4,000 to 8,000 people live in Daraya. The suburb has been under a government blockade since residents expelled security forces in the early part of the 2011 uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

According to the UN, an estimated 492,000 people live in 19 areas under forms of siege: 16 of those areas are held by rebels, while three are controlled by the government.

Conflict goes on

Meanwhile, a US-backed Arab-Kurdish alliance has reportedly severed the Islamic State group's main supply route to Turkey.

This after encircling a key jihadist-held town in northern Syria.

"The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) cut off the last road from Manbij to the Turkish border on Friday morning," the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

IS still controls territory along the Turkish border.

Al Nusra militants are carrying out mortar attacks on positions held by the Syrian Army and Kurdish militia as well as civilian areas in Aleppo, RIA news agency cited the Russian ceasefire monitoring center in Syria as saying on Friday.

Russia launched air strikes in support of President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria in September.

jbh/sms (AP, Reuters, dpa)

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