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New aid convoy enters besieged Syrian town

Middle East

New aid convoy enters besieged Syrian town

A convoy carrying food and other desperately needed aid entered Syria’s besieged Madaya on Thursday, as UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned that using starvation as a weapon was a war crime.

At the United Nations in New York, Western powers called for the UN Security Council to meet on Friday in order to expedite deliveries of life-saving supplies to Madaya and two other Syrian towns.

White trucks emblazoned with the logo of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent entered Madaya — where the UN says suffering is the worst seen in Syria’s nearly five-year war — late on Thursday afternoon, an AFP reporter said.

The town’s 40,000 residents have endured a crippling siege by pro-government forces that has drawn sharp condemnation from the international community.

More than two dozen people have reportedly starved to death since December, and Ban warned that any side using starvation as a weapon in the conflict would be committing a “war crime”.

“All sides — including the Syrian government which has the primary responsibility to protect Syrians — are committing this and other atrocious acts prohibited under international humanitarian law,” Ban told reporters.

A spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross said 44 aid trucks carrying food and other supplies entered Madaya, adding that a separate convoy of 17 trucks to the northwestern rebel-encircled towns of Fuaa and Kafraya reached their destinations.

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