Aid trucks reach besieged Syrian towns

12 Jan 2016 | By Gaurav

Aid convoys arranged by local and international organizations have finally reached the besieged towns of Madaya, Kefraya and Foua following a deal between the government and rebel forces.

World Food Programme volunteers said the aid will meet the needs of 40,000 people for one month.

Several civilians have died of starvation in Madaya since July 2015, when it was first placed under siege.

In context: Siege warfare in Syria

Siege WarfareWhat is Siege Warfare?

Siege Warfare was a medieval military operation involving the surrounding and blockading of a strategic position in the attempt to capture it.

It has evolved to encompass defensive siege of towns, villages and areas with civilian populations that serve as deterrents to attacks.

By restricting the movement of goods, people and transportation, the occupying group can hold its defensive position for prolonged durations.

Syria Which parts of Syria are under siege?

According the UN, the eastern city of Deir al-Zour is under siege by Islamic State militants who have blocked access to the town.

The Ghouta area near Damascus, Darayya and mountain town of Zabadani are under siege by Syrian government forces.

Madaya, which is south of Zabadani and Foua and Kefraya in Idlib are under siege by rebel groups and the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front.

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People How many people are under siege?

According to the UN, there are over 4 million people living in hard to reach areas in Syria.

The agency estimates that over 400,000 people are currently in parts of Syria that are under siege by various groups.

A majority of those affected are women and children as the men are either killed or forced to work with the occupying forces.

Humanitarian CrisisUnder what conditions are civilians living?

According to World Food Programme volunteers, civilians in besieged areas recieve food and medical supplies through local black markets at inflated prices.

With the onset of winter, people have reportedly resorted to burning plastic and rubber to fuel stoves, leading to respiratory problems, complicated by an acute shortage of medical supplies.

Locals state that wheat sells at $250/kg and powdered milk at over $300/kg.

Help What is being done to help those affected?

A local agreement between occupying forces allowed the World Food Programme to send in food rations for 20,000 people to last for a month in Madaya in October 2015 .

The agreement facilitated the UN, Red Cross and Red Crescent sponsored evacuation of 460 people from Zabadani, Madaya, Foua and Kefraya in December 2015.

Further negotiations are underway between volunteer groups and occupying forces.

People eating cats and dogs

An activist whose family resides in the besieged town of Madaya told BBC that due to the lack of food, "Citizens are eating stuff off the ground. They're eating cats and dogs."
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12 Jan 2016Aid trucks reach besieged Syrian towns

31 Jan 201616 more starve to death in Madaya

Another 16 people have starved to death in the besieged Syrian town of Madaya since UN aid convoys reached it earlier this month.

Sources added that there are also 33 people in danger of dying.

Negotiators representing Syria's main opposition groups are expected to arrive in Geneva soon.

One of their key demands include aid deliveries to besieged towns like Madaya.

9 Mar 2016Over 250,000 children risk starvation in Syria

Over 2,50,000 children are facing the risk of starvation in several Syrian cities and towns that are still under siege by ISIS and other militant organizations.

Some 4,86,700 people in 18 different areas across Syria are under siege by either government or opposition forces, according to the UN.

There has been no movement of food, medicines or fuel in any of the towns.

2 Jun 2016Syria: US, UK, France push for aid drops

The US, UK and France have urged the UN to begin air drops of humanitarian aid supplies to besieged towns in Syria.

They stated that the Syrian government had not heeded to the 1 June deadline for humanitarian aid distribution.

As a result several besieged towns in the country have run dry of essential supplies including food, water, medicine and basic health amenities.

3 Jun 2016Syrian govt allows aid to besieged towns

The Syrian government stated that it has approved the delivery of humanitarian aid to at least 11 besieged areas in the country.

The Syrian Mission to the United Nations named 36 areas to receive aid in June, and asked the UN and the Red Cross to send the convoys.

Several devastated towns including Madaya, Foua, Kefraya and Yarmouk will receive food and medicine.