Firefighters extinguish a fire following an air strike by forces loyal to the Syrian government in the rebel-held area of Douma, on the outskirts of Damascus, Syria, on Sunday. Picture: EPA/MOHAMMED BADRA
Firefighters extinguish a fire following an air strike by forces loyal to the Syrian government in the rebel-held area of Douma, on the outskirts of Damascus, Syria, earlier this month. Picture: EPA/MOHAMMED BADRA

GENEVA — UN aid convoys starting rolling in Syria again on Thursday after an attack on humanitarian trucks and a warehouse triggered a suspension in deliveries.

"Today we are sending an interagency, cross-line convoy with urgently needed aid to people in a besieged area of rural Damascus," said UN Humanitarian Agency spokesman Jens Laerke.

"We have resumed aid deliveries based on the humanitarian imperative."

Laerke said this was the first convoy to head for a besieged area since Monday’s attack on a humanitarian convoy which killed about 20 people, including a Red Cross staffer.

The UN has estimated that about 600,000 people are stuck in Syria’s 18 besieged areas. Accessing them, and others in remote areas has become a top UN priority.

Convoys have repeatedly been blocked for security reasons, refusals by the Syrian government to grant authorisation and strict conditions imposed by opposition groups.

The UN, Red Cross and other humanitarian agencies had hoped that a ceasefire agreed this month would enable them to get life-saving supplies to more than a million Syrian civilians. But the ceasefire collapse has stalled aid deliveries.

AFP