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The UN Is Sending Aid To Starving People In Besieged Syrian Towns

Aid convoys are finally heading toward a Syrian town where thousands are reportedly suffering from starvation.

Last week saw the exposure of the crisis in Madaya, Syria, which has been under the control of pro-government forces and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah since last summer.

The town has apparently not received aid in about three months, leaving some 40,000 people without food or medicine.

Medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) told the BBC 28 people, including six infants, starved to death since December.

According to Huffington Post, Hezbollah denied the deaths, and it claimed anti-government rebels stole the aid meant for Madaya and sold it to those who could afford it.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reportedly said pro-government and anti-government rebels are blocking aid and evacuations in the areas they control to force the opposing side to surrender.

An agreement was recently reached between the two sides to allow aid into Madaya, as well as the Syrian towns of Foua and Kefraya, which are held by anti-government rebels and are located about 200 miles away from Madaya.

On Monday morning, more than 60 aid trucks operated by the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the World Food Programme left Damascus en route to the three towns, the BBC reports.

Their cargo consists of rice, vegetable oil, flour, sugar, salt, water, baby formula, blankets, medicines and medical tools.

The food and supplies will reportedly last a month for Madaya's 40,000 people in need.

An estimated 20,000 people in Foua and Kefraya are said to have faced restrictions in food or medicine since March.

Just 10 percent of UN requests for aid in areas under control of anti- or pro-government forces were reportedly granted last year, leaving about 4.5 million people in Syria without aid.

The UN is working to organize peace talks between the Syrian government and anti-government rebels, but last week, the rebels told a UN envoy they would only participate in such talks if pro-government forces relinquish control of their seized territories.

Anti-government rebels are additionally demanding the Syrian government cease its assaults on civilian areas.

On Monday, activists said an air strike launched on a school held by anti-government forces killed at least 12 children.

Citations: Aid Convoy Heads For Starving Syrian Towns (Huffington Post), Aid convoy set to enter besieged town (BBC)