Syria government urged to allow access to besieged zones

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Intra Syrian Talks with Staffan De Mistura and Qadri Jamil, leader of Syrian Opposition Group Formed in Moscow, Cairo to Join Geneva Talks. UN Photo/Anne-Laure Lechat

Efforts are continuing in Syria to deliver aid to communities in desperate need.

The UN warned on Thursday that the situation is still "very, very dire" and that the route to many areas remains blocked.

Jan Egeland, who's coordinating the humanitarian mission from the UN in Geneva, said that convoys have now reached more than a quarter of a million people inside the war-torn country.

The aim is to reach more than four times that number in coming weeks.

Daniel Johnson reports from Geneva.

Of 18 besieged locations in Syria, 12 have now received aid since a fragile truce was declared at the end of February.

In four places – Madaya, Zabadani, Kafraya and Foah, UN humanitarian coordinator Jan Egeland told journalists that relief convoys were "delivering as we speak".

But that leaves six besieged zones that still can't be accessed, along with many more so-called hard-to-reach places.

Describing the situation in Daraya, south of Damascus, as "very, very dire", Egeland said that the UN humanitarian taskforce he heads had requested permission from the Syrian government to reach more than a million people.

"Civilians need help, we can give them the help, it is in violation of international law to prevent us from going."

Meanwhile, talks over Syria's future entered their fourth day in Geneva, with the UN's Staffan de Mistura set to continue discussions over political transition with the main opposition group, the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), later on Thursday.

On Wednesday the UN Special Envoy also sat down with a new delegation of opponents to the Syrian government, the so-called Moscow-Cairo group.

It described its stance as more moderate than the HNC, which has called for the departure of President Bashar Al-Assad.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 1'15"

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