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Food Aid Reaches Syria's Besieged Daraya for 1st Time Since 2012

The rebel-held suburb of Daraya has been under siege since November 2012 and has witnessed some of the worst bombardment during the country's war.
A United Nations and Syrian Arab Red Crescent aid convoy enters the Syrian rebel-held town of Daraya late on Thursday, bringing the first food aid delivery since the start of a siege there by the Damascus regime in 2012.FADI DIRANI / AFP - Getty Images

International food aid reached the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Daraya late Thursday for the first time since it was besieged in November 2012.

The delivery came hours after the U.N. said the Syrian government approved access to 15 of the 19 besieged areas within the country.

Located just southwest of the Syrian capital, Daraya has witnessed some of the worst bombardment during the country's civil war, now in its sixth year.

The arrival of food aid came a week after a joint convoy of the U.N., the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) reached Daraya and delivered medicines, vaccines, baby formula, and "nutritional items for children"— but no food.

The U.N. estimates that there are currently 592,700 people living under siege in Syria, with the vast majority of them — some 452,700 people — besieged by government forces.

Lifting the siege on rebel-held areas was a key demand by the opposition during indirect peace talks held in Geneva earlier this year.

The U.N. estimates that 4,000 to 8,000 people live in Daraya, which has been subject to a crippling government blockade since residents expelled security forces in the early stages of the 2011 uprising against President Bashar Assad.