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France outraged by Syrian bombing of Daraya after food aid

Nearly 600,000 people live in besieged areas in Syria -- most surrounded by government forces -- and another four million in hard-to-reach areas.

Published: 11th June 2016 08:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th June 2016 08:28 AM   |  A+A-

Mideast Syria_Rich

For representational purposes only (File|AP)

By AFP

UNITED NATIONS: French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault voiced outrage on Friday after the Syrian regime barrel-bombed Daraya just as aid workers were distributing the first food supplies to the besieged town in years.

Ayrault accused Damascus of "extraordinary duplicity", saying the regime had finally granted access to aid convoys after heavy international pressure "and then the bombing restarted."

The foreign minister said he was "outraged beyond words" and called for world powers to meet to discuss the worsening crisis from Syria's five-year war.

A convoy of trucks carrying food arrived in Daraya late Thursday, delivering rice, lentils, sugar, oil and wheat flour to civilians for the first time since the regime laid siege to the town in late 2012.

Early Friday, the town came under heavy bombardment, with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights saying regime helicopters had dropped at least 20 barrel bombs.

Ayrault accused the regime of "continuing to attack its own people" and said "there is no more ceasefire" as agreed by Russia and the United States in late February.

The International Syria Support Group (ISSG) comprised of the United States, Russia and other key players in the conflict in Syria is pushing for more access for humanitarian aid in particular to areas under siege.

Nearly 600,000 people live in besieged areas in Syria -- most surrounded by government forces -- and another four million in hard-to-reach areas, according to the United Nations.

The ISSG is also seeking to shore up the ceasefire to pave the way for a new round of peace talks in Geneva on ending the war.

Peace talks however are not expected to reconvene for weeks because of the escalating violence on the ground and the blocking of aid to besieged areas.

Ayrault was in New York to preside over a Security Council debate on the protection of civilians in peacekeeping. France holds the council presidency for the month of June.

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