As aid agencies depart to deliver food to Madaya, near the Lebanese border, and two other besieged towns in Idlib province, an estimated 400,000 people are living under siege in 15 areas across Syria, according to the UN.
A deal struck in recent days permits the delivery of food to Madaya, which is currently surrounded by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Hezbollah, as well as to the villages of Foua and Kefraya in Idlib, which are under siege by rebel fighters.
An estimated 42,000 people in Madaya have little or no access to food, resulting in the deaths of at least 23 people by starvation so far, according to the charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF). With winter hitting hard that number is expected to rise. The group said that five more people died in Madaya on Sunday, including a boy aged nine. (READ MORE)