Syria crisis: Aid arrives in besieged Muadhamiya

17 Feb 2016

The first of several convoys carrying badly-needed aid to besieged areas of Syria has arrived at its destination.

Trucks have entered the rebel-held town of Muadhamiya, near the Syrian capital Damascus, the Red Crescent said.

Aid is heading as well to Madaya and Zabadani, also near the capital, and to the pro-government northern villages of Foah and Kefraya.

The deliveries are part of an agreement that world powers hope will lead to a "cessation of hostilities" by Friday.

However, offensives by Syrian government forces and Kurdish militia fighters on rebel-held areas of the northern province of Aleppo have dimmed hopes for a truce.

Almost 500,000 people live in besieged areas in Syria, according to the UN.

Some 100 trucks left Damascus earlier on Wednesday, carrying food, non-food items, medical equipment and medicine.

A spokesman for the Syrian Arab Red Crescent told the BBC many Syrians were desperate for basic supplies.

"People in Kefraya and Foua, they need diesel to switch on the water pumps - without the diesel, they cannot dig for water, they need water, drinking water," Mouhannad al Assadi told the BBC.

Two more places - Kafr Batna and Deir al-Zour - are expected to receive aid later in the week.

Humanitarian supplies reached some of the areas last month amid reports of people starving.

On Tuesday, UN special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura said it was the "duty" of the Syrian government to allow aid to reach whoever needed it.