Aid agencies say a deal has been reached to send food and medicine into besieged towns in Syria, where tens of thousands of people are in danger of starving to death. The aid deal agreed on Saturday will result in humanitarian supplies being sent to the opposition-held town of Madaya at the Lebanese border, and to two villages in the northwestern province of Idlib that are blockaded by rebels.
Aid agencies have warned of widespread starvation in Madaya, where some 40,000 people are at risk. The United Nations said on Thursday that Damascus had agreed to allow access to all three areas, but did not say when the delivery would take place.
“Both date and time have been set. Aid will go to three towns on Monday morning, all at the same time,” said a source familiar with the matter. A second, pro-Syrian government source confirmed the details. Images of emaciated bodies and hungry children have led to an international outcry over the use of siege tactics by all sides in the war.
News of the agreement came on Saturday as scores of people were killed and more than 100 others injured in Russian air strikes in Syria’s Idlib province. The volunteer-run Syria Civil Defence told Al Jazeera that Saturday’s Russian air strikes targeted the town of Maarat al-Numaan, 290km north of the capital, killing at least 43 people and injuring at least 150 others.