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Syria approves aid to 12 besieged areas: UN

AFP , Friday 3 Jun 2016
Syria
Men unload flour from a Red Crescent and United Nations aid convoy in the rebel held besieged town of Hamoria area, in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, Syria April 19, 2016 (Photo: Reuters)
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Syria has agreed to allow access for ground convoys to deliver aid to 12 besieged areas during the month of June, the United Nations said Friday.

Damascus has also agreed to restricted aid deliveries to three more areas but rejected requests for two others, the UN office of humanitarian affairs said.

The approvals came as the Security Council discussed UN plans to carry out airdrops of food and medicine to civilians trapped in areas under siege.

Some diplomats dismissed the move, saying such approvals had been granted in the past and failed to materialize on the ground.

According to the United Nations, a total of 592,000 people live under siege in Syria -- the majority surrounded by regime forces -- and another four million live in hard-to-reach areas.

Out of the total requests for access to 34 locations, 23 were approved in full, six were approved for some deliveries of medicine but not food, and five were rejected.

Damascus refused access to the besieged areas of Al Wa'er of Homs in western Syria and to the rebel-held city of Zabadani in the southwest.

It agreed to partial deliveries to Moadamiyeh, Daraya and Douma, which are besieged by regime forces.

UN aid chief Stephen O'Brien said Syria must grant full access to all areas in need of aid.

"We need to see full approval of the June plan for humanitarian access," O'Brien said in a statement after addressing the closed meeting of the council.

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