The first convoys with emergency supplies have reached the embattled and secluded Syrian region of Eastern Ghouta. People in the area face severe food, water and medicine shortages. However, many vital supplies were seized by government forces before reaching the people.
More than 400,000 residents live under siege in Eastern Ghouta. Eastern Ghouta is a region east of the Syrian capital Damascus. The region has been controlled by anti-government militants and rebels since 2012. In February the Syrian government started launching airstrikes in the area to fight the rebels.
This Monday the first United Nations trucks with emergency supplies reached the enclave of Eastern Ghouta. An enclave is an area that is cut off from the surrounding area. As bombings and air strikes continue, aid transports could not reach the enclosed residents.
An urgent UN resolution on Sunday had called for air strikes to stop and for humanitarian aid to be allowed into the region. There, residents mainly live in underground shelters or in the ruins of their bombed-out houses. People struggle to survive without medicine, electricity, water and little food.
"Some 400,000 innocent civilians are trapped with no food, water or medicine. They must be protected," (Sonia Khush, Syria director of the Observatory for Human Rights).
Monday's convoy was delivering health and nutrition supplies, along with food for 27,500 people in need. The organisation Save the Children claimed that the government forces had removed surgical kits and insulin.
Bombardments against civilians
After more than two weeks of air strikes and rocket fire more than 700 civilians have been killed and 75% of houses have been damaged or destroyed. Residents survive only on smuggled goods, produce from local farms and rare aid deliveries.
The war in Syria between the Syrian government and various rebel groups has been raging on for more than five years. It has claimed almost half a million lives.