Syria's Daraya bombed hours after breakthrough food aid delivery

Syria's Daraya bombed hours after breakthrough food aid delivery
Video: A besieged Damascus suburb received its first food aid delivery since 2012 on Thursday. But respite was premature when homes were bombed shortly after UN workers left the district.
3 min read
10 June, 2016

Daraya food aid

A besieged suburb in the Syrian capital Damascus has been hit by barrel bombs shortly after it received its first delivery of food aid in four years.

Daraya's local council reported that bombs rained down on the suburb shortly after aid workers left the area.

This latest attack on Friday occurred just hours after the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the United Nations made the first aid delivery to the rebel-held area since it the regime encircled it in 2012.

The news was reported by the Local Council of Daraya on their Facebook page, where it was claimed that at least 18 barrel bombs were dropped at 9am and 12pm local time.

Food supplies reached besieged Daraya late on Thursday night following approval by the Syrian regime to grant access to 15 of the 19 besieged areas in the country.

Later on Friday, the UN said it was denied entry to Zabadani near Damascus and al-Waer in Homs city by the Syrian regime.

The decision by the Syrian regime to allow in humanitarian workers comes after pressure mounted by the UN to air drop aid to besieged areas.

With this vital delivery of food and medicine, it is hoped that the welfare and nutrition of the area's estimated 4,000-8,000 remaining residents may be somewhat improved.

Video and images of the food drop has since emerged on social media channels, with one showing a World Food Programme official saying that around 480 food rations had been delivered. These were expected to feed approximately 2,400 people for a month.

"The supply of the very basic commodities is very challenging, so as a consequence the prices of the commodities themselves are very high whenever they are available," a WFP official said in a video posted by activists.

"As a result, most families are having to do with one meal, which is not complete as a meal, per day in order to be able to get by."

Thursday's delivery comes a week after the International Committee of the Red Cross, SARC and the UN delivered medicines, vaccines and baby formula to the blockaded suburb, but brought no food with them.

According to the UN, there are currently 592,700 people living under siege in Syria. The vast majority of this number - some 452,700 people - are being besieged by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In January, the regime's siege of Madaya saw dozens die of starvation with mounting public pressure forcing the UN aid to act.

Aid deliveries to the suburb have taken place, but the amounts delivered have been short of what residents say is needed to sustain life.

Since then, others have died - particularly infants - from starvation and hunger-related issues.

Desperate residents in besieged areas have been forced to eat dogs or cook soups made from leaves and tree bark - with no nutritional value - to stave off hunger.