Convoys enter besieged Syrian towns to deliver food and medical aid

The New York Times reports: The first trucks from a convoy carrying food and medical aid entered the besieged Syrian town of Madaya on Monday, only to discover harrowing scenes of desperation, including 400 people who needed immediate medical evacuation, United Nations officials said Monday night.

The 400 were in the town hospital and included patients who were severely malnourished and were facing other medical complications, the United Nations emergency relief coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, said after briefing members of the Security Council behind closed doors. “They are in grave peril of losing their lives,” he said.

The delivery of food packages, which included rice, lentils and oil, came amid a growing international outcry over the increasing number of deaths from malnutrition in Madaya, which along with neighboring Zabadani, is besieged by pro-government forces, including the Lebanese militia group Hezbollah.

The aid shipment there was being coordinated with a similar delivery to the northern Syrian towns of Fouaa and Kfarya in Idlib Province, which are surrounded by Syrian insurgent groups.

After a last-minute flurry of negotiations as the convoys idled at the entrances to the towns, trucks and sport utility vehicles began rolling in, Pawel Krzysiek, a spokesman for the Syria branch of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said by text message from Madaya. Unloading was expected to last through the night, he said on Twitter. [Continue reading…]

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