MIDDLE EAST

Syria's besieged Eastern Ghouta to deliver aid convoy

SYRIAS BESIEGED EASTERN GHOUTA TO DELIVER AID CONVOY

An aid convoy that failed to deliver humanitarian supplies to Eastern Ghouta last week due to ongoing violence plans to return to the district in hopes of unloading its cargo, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

A team, accompanied by the UN, will enter Eastern Ghouta's city of Douma on Friday to deliver the aid that was not offloaded last week, the ICRC tweeted.

Friday's delivery will see 13 trucks carry 2,400 food parcels to some 12,000 residents of the district, according to the ICRC.

"There is no justification for allowing people to die because they cannot get life-saving care," the ICRC said in a statement.

"We appeal to all sides to stop the bloodshed and allow aid deliveries into Eastern Ghouta before more lives are lost," it added.

On Monday, the UN failed to unload 14 out of 46 trucks bringing humanitarian aid to the besieged district due to escalating violence.

On Feb. 24, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2401, which calls for a month-long ceasefire in Syria -- especially Eastern Ghouta -- to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid.

Three days later, Russia announced its own ceasefire initiative calling for daily, five-hour "humanitarian pauses" in Eastern Ghouta.

A suburb of Damascus, Eastern Ghouta -- home to roughly 400,000 people -- has remained the target of a crippling regime siege for the last five years.

Within the last eight months, the regime has stepped up the siege, preventing food and medicine from entering the district and leaving thousands of residents in need of medical treatment.

On Thursday, a UN commission of inquiry released a report accusing the Assad regime of committing war crimes in Eastern Ghouta, including the use of chemical weapons against civilians, causing mass starvation and preventing medical evacuations.

Within the last 18 days alone, more than 881 civilians in the embattled district have reportedly been killed in attacks by the regime and its allies.

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