A convoy of aid from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent waits on the outskirts of besieged rebel-held Syrian town of Madaya, on January 14, 2016. / AFP / LOUAI BESHARA
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A second batch of aid reached a besieged Syrian town and two trapped villages on Thursday and the United Nations accused rival factions of committing war crimes by causing civilians to starve to death.For months, tens of thousands have been blockaded by government troops in Madaya and surrounded by rebel forces in the two villages.The siege of Madaya, where people have reportedly died of starvation, has become a focal issue for Syrian opposition groups who want all such blockades lifted before they enter negotiations with the government planned for Jan. 25 .A total of 45 trucks carrying food and medical supplies were due to be delivered to Madaya, and 18 to Al-Foua and Kefraya on Thursday, aid officials said.The Syrian Observatory said it had recorded 27 deaths in Madaya from malnutrition and lack of medical supplies, and at least 13 deaths in Al-Foua and Kefraya due to lack of medical supplies. The talks planned for Jan. 25 in Geneva are part of a peace process endorsed by the U.N. Security Council last month in a rare display of international agreement on Syria, where the war has killed 250,000 people.There are about 15 siege locations in Syria, where 450,000 people are trapped, the United Nations says.
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