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Humanitarian aid convoys reach four besieged Syrian towns

Aid convoys prepare to enter militant-held Muadamiyat al-Sham town near Damascus, Feb. 17, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

At least 100 trucks carrying humanitarian aid for the besieged areas of Syria have entered four of the five militant-held areas after setting off from Damascus under a UN-sponsored deal.

Truckloads of aid were delivered Wednesday to locals in the small mountainous town of Madaya and the town of Muadamiyat al-Sham the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Madaya lies about 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of Damascus and Muadamiyat is situated some 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) southwest of the Syrian capital. 

Convoys also entered the villages of al-Foua and Kefraya in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib.

Vehicles are yet to arrive in the city of al-Zabadani, which lies on the outskirts of Damascus and close to the border with Lebanon.

The trucks left the Syrian capital early Wednesday. The Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) is cooperating with the United Nations on the aid deliveries.

Damascus has pledged full cooperation with the UN and the Red Cross to deliver humanitarian aid to all civilians “without any discrimination,” including those in hard-to-reach areas.

A convoy of aid vehicles heads to the villages of al-Foua and Kefraya, in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, Feb. 17, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

The delivery of supplies to trapped residents started after the Syrian government approved access to seven besieged areas following crisis talks in Damascus the previous day.

Representatives of the Syrian government and foreign-backed opposition are to discuss an end to the conflict in the Swiss city of Geneva on February 25.

The foreign-sponsored conflict in Syria, which began in March 2011, has claimed the lives of some 470,000 people and left 1.9 million injured, according to the so-called Syrian Center for Policy Research.

Moreover, 6.36 million people have been displaced internally and more than four million others have fled the country since the beginning of the conflict.

The total number of the displaced accounts for 45 percent of the country’s population, which has shrunk by 21 percent.

Syria accuses Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar of funding and arming terrorist groups operating inside the country, including Daesh.

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