Residents of a Syrian town trapped in the nation's civil war are finally getting some desperately needed relief: UN convoys with food and medicine headed to Madaya on Monday, reports the BBC. Shocking stories have emerged about the plight of the estimated 40,000 people there. Doctors Without Borders says 28 people—including six babies—have starved to death since December 1, with another 250 people currently suffering from "acute malnutrition." The situation has become so dire that residents have resorted to eating cats, reports NBC News.
The convoys also will deliver supplies to two other villages in northern Syria, reports the AP, and the New York Times has a more in-depth piece explaining what's happening. Madaya is controlled by anti-government forces but encircled by government troops, and the UN struck a deal last week to allow the aid. The bigger problem is that about 400,000 Syrians are believed to be trapped in similar situations elsewhere. "Using hunger as a weapon flies in the face of international law," notes the analysis. "Yet global and regional powers—like Russia, Iran, the United States and Saudi Arabia—are unable or unwilling to pressure their battlefield allies."