Aid enters besieged area of central Syria

It came as the regime bombarded a town outside Damascus, preventing its besieged residents from receiving their first food delivery in years

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A convoy carrying food aid entered a rebel-controlled area under regime siege in central Syria on Saturday, the Red Cross said, in the second such delivery there in months.

It came as the regime bombarded another opposition-held town outside Damascus, preventing its besieged residents from receiving their first food delivery in years, a resident and monitor said.

Thirty-one trucks ferried in food for 14,200 families to al-Houla in the central province of Homs on Saturday, a spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

The land convoy - the second to the area since March 22 - also included mattresses, blankets, diapers, vaccines, water pumps and generators, Pawel Krzysiek said.

The Al-Houla delivery comes just days after two long-awaited aid convoys to rebel areas outside the capital.

Trucks entered Daraya late Thursday with food including rice, lentils, sugar and flour for the first time since the regime laid siege to the town in late 2012.

But regime helicopters dropped at least eight barrel bombs - crude, unguided explosive devices - on Daraya on Saturday for the second straight day, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

“People want the aid but they’re paralysed by the ongoing bombardment,” activist and Daraya local council member Shadi Matar said.

“People are hiding in underground bunkers. Some families have even dug holes in their homes to hide,” he told AFP.

Aid agencies said supplies also reached Douma on Friday in the first UN delivery there since autumn 2013.

The United Nations says nearly 600,000 people live in besieged areas in Syria - most surrounded by government forces - and another four million in hard-to-reach areas.

Peace talks towards ending a civil war that has killed more than 280,000 people have stalled over issues including lack of humanitarian access.

The UN’s humanitarian agency said on Friday it was still awaiting permission from Damascus to deliver aid to the besieged areas of Al-Waer in Homs province and Zabadani in rural Damascus.

The United States and France lashed out at Syria’s government on Friday over the barrel bombs attacks on Daraya.

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