The European Union has welcomed the Syrian government's decision to allow humanitarian access to the besieged town of Madaya following reports of residents starving to death there.
In a statement on January 8, the EU also called for a halt to all attacks on civilians in the Syrian conflict, ahead of peace talks later this month.
The Red Cross said on January 8 that aid agencies have received permission from Damascus to deliver relief supplies to Madaya.
The United Nations said on January 7 that humanitarian aid will begin entering Madaya and two other besieged locations "in the coming days."
Madaya, located near the border with Lebanon, has been under siege by government forces since early July.
Aid agencies say Madaya residents are suffering from severe malnutrition and have little access to fuel and medical supplies.
The other two locations are the Shi’ite villages of Foua and Kfarya in the northern province of Idlib, which have been besieged by antigovernment fighters.
Up to 4.5 million people in Syria live in hard-to-reach areas, including nearly 400,000 people in 15 besieged areas.
Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, dpa, and the BBC