UN resumes Syria aid convoys

Geneva (AFP) - UN aid convoys starting rolling in Syria again on Thursday, after a deadly attack on humanitarian trucks and a warehouse triggered a suspension in deliveries.

"Today we are sending an inter-agency, cross-line convoy with urgently needed aid to people in a besieged area of rural Damascus," United Nations humanitarian agency (OCHA) spokesman Jens Laerke said in a statement.

"We have resumed aid deliveries based on the humanitarian imperative," he added.

Laerke told AFP in an email that this was the first convoy to head towards a besieged area since Monday's attack on a humanitarian convoy which killed around 20 people, including a Red Cross staffer.

The UN has estimated that roughly 600,000 people are stuck in Syria's 18 besieged areas.

Accessing them, and others in so-called hard-to-reach areas has become a top UN priority.

Convoys have repeatedly been blocked for security reasons, refusals by the Syrian government to grant authorisation and strict conditions imposed by opposition groups.

The UN, Red Cross and other humanitarian agencies had hoped that a ceasefire agreed earlier this month would allow them to get life-saving supplies to more than a million Syrian civilians.

But the ceasefire's collapse has stalled aid deliveries.

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