Syria besieged town of Daraya to get first aid since 2012

Sunday 08/05/2016
First ever humanitarian convoy to Daraya

BEIRUT - Aid agencies are to deliver relief supplies to the besieged Syrian rebel-held town of Daraya on Thursday, the first since 2012, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

"This is the first ever humanitarian convoy to this town in the suburbs of Damascus since the beginning of the siege in November 2012," ICRC spokesman Pawel Krzysiek said.

Five trucks organised by the ICRC, the United Nations and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent were to deliver baby milk and medical and school supplies.

"Today's delivery to Daraya has been the result of the very lengthy and difficult negotiations to allow humanitarian aid into an area under one of the longest-lasting sieges in the Syrian conflict," the ICRC's Syria chief Marianne Gasser said.

"It is a breakthrough but definitely not a success," she said.

"We must see it as a confidence building opportunity. But at the same time... we urge all parties in control of situation on the ground to allow more desperately needed humanitarian aid to this town as soon as possible."

Daraya had a pre-war population of around 80,000 people but that has dropped by almost 90 percent, with remaining residents suffering from severe shortages and malnutrition.

The United Nations says more than 486,000 people are living under siege in Syria, more than half of them in areas besieged by the regime.