New Clashes in Blockaded Area Of Damascus Halt Aid

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) -

Food deliveries to thousands of people living in a blockaded area in southern Damascus ground to a halt after a truce collapsed and clashes broke out between Syrian rebels and forces loyal to the government, a U.N. official and activists said on Monday.

The clashes, which erupted on Sunday afternoon and lasted until Monday morning, were the most serious violence in weeks in the Syrian capital’s Palestinian-dominated district of Yarmouk and seriously undermined a tentative truce struck there in early January.

A U.N. spokesman in Damascus, Chris Gunness, urged all parties to “immediately allow” the resumption of aid to the area, where malnutrition is rife.

The U.N. “remains deeply concerned about the desperate humanitarian situation in Yarmouk, and the fact that increasing tensions and resort to armed force have disrupted its efforts to alleviate the desperate plight of civilians,” Gunness said Monday.

Activists estimate that over 100 people have died of hunger or hunger-related illnesses since a blockade began nearly a year ago, preventing food and medical aid from entering Yarmouk.