UNICEF reports of 20000 starving Syrian children in Madaya

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UNICEF reports of 20000 starving Syrian children in Madaya

The United Nations expressed alarm on Thursday at widespread reports of starvation in a besieged town west of the Syrian capital of Damascus, welcoming a promise from Syria's government to allow aid to reach the hungry people there soon.

"The success of political settlement in Syria depends on honesty in implementing UN Security Council resolutions that deal with fighting against terrorism", Muallem stressed.

According to al-Attar, aid and foodstuffs will enter rebel-held Madaya simultaneously with aid to the besieged towns of Kafraya and Foa, which have been suffocated by the rebels in the western countryside of the northwestern province of Idlib.

Due to the siege, Madaya relies on food deliveries to stay nourished; the Washington Post reports the last shipment of food occurred in October, over two months ago.

"Almost 42,000 people remaining in Madaya are at risk of further hunger and starvation", the statement said.

A sliver of good news came out of Syria yesterday with the announcement that the Syrian government would allow aid into the besieged city of Madaya.

Eastern Ghouta, a rebel stronghold outside Damascus, has about 176,000 people said to be trapped, while about 9,000 people are stuck in the Damascus suburb of Darayya and in the western town of Zabadani.

The U.N. has been urging both the sides in Syria to end the five year-long civil war that has killed over 250,000 people and displaced half the country's population. The organization, also known as Medecins Sans Frontieres, says that 23 people have died since December 1 in its health center in Madaya.

The blockade of Madaya began six months ago when the Syrian army and its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, started a campaign to reestablish President Bashar Al-Assad's control over areas along the Syrian-Lebanese border. Syrian officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

The convoy - a partnership between the WFP, the International Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent - would have enough aid to sustain 40,000 people for a month, according to spokeswoman Abeer Etefa.

The tragic situation of children in Madaya was an example of the dire situation of the 4.5 million people, over two million of them children, living in hard-to-reach and besieged areas, he said.

"The situation is ghastly", said United Nations rights office spokesman Rupert Colville, indicating that details of the casualties and the extent of the suffering in Madaya were hard to verify given the limited access. "But I doubt they can", Riyad Naasan Agha, a member of the opposition council, told Reuters.

Global relief agencies are preparing to deliver food to Madaya in the coming days after reports from there shocked the world.

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