Urgent food aid deliveries expanded in Syria's Raqqa for the first time in three years
Aid deliveries in parts of Syria's Raqqa province resumed for the first time in three years using a newly-opened land route, the UN's World Food Programme announced on Wednesday.
The deliveries come as thousands of civilians are being displaced by a US-backed campaign to oust the Islamic State group from the provincial capital of Raqqa province.
"WFP is now delivering food every month to nearly 200,000 people, displaced in eight hard-to-reach locations inside Raqqa governorate as well as other areas in neighbouring governorates," the UN agency said.
Aid provision to the wider province of Raqqa is complicated by the region's remote location and by the myriad warring factions that control access routes to it.
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Until last month, the World Food Programme was relying on flying aid from Damascus to the neighbouring province of Hasakah and then delivering it to surrounding areas.
The land route instead travels from Aleppo province to the west of Raqqa and has "allowed access for the first time in three years to Al-Mansura and other rural areas north of Raqqa city", the WFP said.
Al-Mansura is a town west of Raqqa city and was recaptured from IS in June.
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition of Kurdish and Arab fighters, have been battling since November 2016 to oust IS from Raqqa province.
They entered Raqqa city for the first time in June after spending months working to encircle it. SDF forces now control nearly 35 percent of the one-time IS bastion.
IS is also under pressure elsewhere in Syria and in neighbouring Iraq, where it lost its largest stronghold of Mosul this week.
Agencies contributed to this report