In this Monday, Jan. 11, 2016 photo, people wait to leave the besieged town of Madaya, northwest of Damascus, Syria. (AP Photo)
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Aid workers who reached a besieged Syrian town spoke of "heartbreaking" conditions being endured by emaciated and starving residents, with hundreds in need of specialized medical help.An aid convoy on Monday brought the first food and medical relief for months to the western town of Madaya, where 40,000 people are trapped by encircling government forces and local doctors say some residents have starved to death. A local doctor said 300 to 400 people needed special medical care, according to Elizabeth Hoff, the WHO representative in Damascus who went into Madaya with the convoy.Aid convoys also delivered supplies to Al-Foua and Kefraya, two villages in Idlib province encircled by rebels fighting the Syrian government.However, there appears little immediate prospect of such a case being brought before the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague, since Syria is not a member and any referral to the court by the U.N. Security Council would have to overcome Russian reluctance.There are presently about 15 siege locations in Syria, where 450,000 people are trapped, the United Nations says.The WHO intends to return to Madaya on Thursday as part of a U.N. convoy with more medical and food supplies, Hoff said.The U.N. refugee agency said local people in Madaya were involved unloading and distributing the food they received.
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