Médecins Sans Frontières says boy and four men died of starvation in Madaya on Sunday

The Red Cross convoy at a government checkpoint outside the besieged Syrian town of Madaya.
The Red Cross convoy at a government checkpoint outside the besieged Syrian town of Madaya. Photograph: EPA

Trucks from an aid convoy carrying food, medicine and hygiene kits have begun to enter the besieged, starving Syrian town of Madaya in an agreement that has also seen a convoy enter two Shia villages 200 miles away in the country’s north.

The Syrian government has allowed the aid through to Madaya after images of emaciated children and adults from the town prompted worldwide condemnation and outrage.

Five more people died of starvation there on Sunday, the international charity Médecins Sans Frontières has confirmed.

— Pawel Krzysiek (@PKrzysiekICRC)January 11, 2016

The organisation had said that 200 more malnourished patients could become critical if aid did not arrive.

Residents said they had been forced to live on tree leaves, flavoured water, and grass scoured from minefields, and children had been kept from succumbing to malnourishment by being fed sugar serums. However, several have died of hunger.

Forces loyal to the Syrian regime have enforced a tight siege on Madaya since July, and only one aid delivery has previously been allowed, in October. The plight of civilians there is tied to the fate of two Shia villages in northern Syria, Fua and Kefraya, that are surrounded by rebels. Backers of the rebels and the government have attempted to orchestrate a population swap that has yet to materialise.

Map of aid convoys

The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Friday that it would deliver food, medicine and other aid to the three besieged towns after permission for a coordinated mission was granted by the Syrian government, but called for unhindered access to all besieged areas in Syria.

The World Food Programme said it had loaded aid trucks as part of an inter-agency convoy delivering aid to Madaya from rural Damascus. The convoy in Fua and Kefraya brought supplies from the city of Homs.

Vehicles carrying food, medicine and blankets, leave the Syrian capital Damascus as they head to the besieged town of Madaya
Vehicles carrying food, medicine and blankets leave Damascus as they head to the besieged town of Madaya. Photograph: Louai Beshara/AFP/Getty Images

Separately on Monday, a UK-based monitor said at least 12 children had diedafter a Russian airstrike hit a school in Aleppo province. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strike in the town of Anjara also injured at least 20 people, all of them children and teachers.

It also reported that three children had been killed by rebel rocket fire on a government-held district in Aleppo city. Control of the city has been divided between government forces in the west and rebel fighters in the east since shortly after fighting began there in mid-2012.

Government forces regularly carry out air raids on the east, while rebels fire rockets into the west.

Meanwhile, the UK said it conducted four airstrikes on Islamic State targets on Sunday. The bombings saw brimstone missiles being used in Syria for the first time.

[Source:- the gurdian]

By Adam