The Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the UN have delivered food aid to the Damascus suburb of Daraya for the first time since it came under siege in November 2012, hours after the UN said the Syrian government had approved access to 15 of the 19 besieged areas in Syria, the AP reports. Rebel-held Daraya has witnessed some of the worst bombardment during the country's civil war, now in its sixth year. The food delivery (which SARC said also included flour and medical supplies) late Thursday night came a week after a joint convoy of the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and SARC reached Daraya and delivered medicines, vaccines, baby formula, and "nutritional items for children"—but no food.
The UN estimates there are currently 592,700 people living under siege in Syria (with the vast majority of them besieged by government forces) and 4,000 to 8,000 people living in Daraya, which has been subject to a crippling government blockade since residents expelled security forces in the early stages of the uprising against President Bashar Assad. An official with the UN's World Food Programme said in a video posted online by media activists that WFP had delivered about 480 food rations that would feed about 2,400 individuals for one month. He said "most families are having to do with one meal, which is not complete as a meal, per day in order to ... get by." (Read more Syria stories.)