ICRC official says aid convoy on way to besieged Syrian town

A second aid convoy is making its way to the besieged town southwest of the Syrian capital

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An aid convoy carrying food and medicine is on its way to a besieged town southwest of the Syrian capital, the second humanitarian aid delivery to rebel-held areas near Damascus in as many days, a spokesman for the International Committee for the Red Cross said Wednesday.

Pawel Krzysiek told The Associated Press that 12 trucks carrying food, medicine and medical equipment were expected to arrive at Moadamiyeh later in the day.

The humanitarian situation in the town, which is located about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) southwest of Damascus, worsened toward the end of last year after the government choked off the last access point. Opposition activists and residents say there are dozens of cases of severe malnutrition in the town.

On Tuesday, Krzysiek said 14 trucks of aid were also delivered to the besieged rebel suburb of al-Tal, on the outskirts of the capital.

The aid delivery appears to be a confidence building gesture on the part of the government after U.N.-mediated indirect peace talks got off to a rocky start in Geneva this week.

The Syrian opposition had demanded that aid be allowed into 18 besieged areas throughout the country and that Syrian and Russian forces halt the bombardment of rebel-held areas ahead of the talks, which officially began Monday.

But the opposition dismissed the deliveries as an empty gesture and demanded an end to the bombing of civilians in order for the Geneva talks to go forward.

Commenting on the aid on its way to Moadamiyeh, senior Syrian opposition figure George Sabra said the supplies are too small.

He told AP that Riad Hijab, a former Syrian prime minister who now heads the opposition’s High Negotiations Committee, will arrive in Geneva later Wednesday, after which the opposition will hold meetings on whether to continue or leave the indirect peace talks.

“We should take a decision in the coming two days,” Sabra said.

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