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U.N. delivers food to district of Syria's capital

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 20, 2014 at 9:42 a.m.

BEIRUT — The relief agency supporting Palestinian refugees resumed food distribution inside the rebel-held district of the Syrian capital that has suffered from crippling shortages of food and medicine for months, a United Nations spokesman said Thursday.

The agency's announcement comes as Western and Arab nations supporting a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding immediate access across Syria to deliver desperately needed humanitarian aid called for a vote on the measure this week, even though diplomats say Russia is opposed to key provisions.

Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the U.N. agency that administers Palestinian refugee camps around the Middle East, said in a statement that the Syrian government granted access for relief workers to enter Yarmouk on Wednesday after an 11-day halt. He said 280 families received food parcels Wednesday and that workers are preparing to deliver more food to about 18,000 Yarmouk residents Thursday.

The Yarmouk refugee camp, located in southern Damascus, is one of the hardest-hit opposition enclaves that have been under tight blockades imposed by forces loyal to President Bashar Assad. More than 100 people have died in Yarmouk since mid-2013 as a result of starvation and illnesses exacerbated by hunger or lack of medical aid, according to U.N. figures.

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