Syrian man carries boy injured by regime shelling (illustration)
Syrian man carries boy injured by regime shelling (illustration) Reuters

Syria's government agreed on Monday to allow aid into several besieged areas, including the starvation-struck town of Madaya, the UN said. The move is an apparent goodwill gesture ahead of peace talks between warring factions in Syria.

"The government has in principle approved Madaya and simultaneously to Kafraya and Foua," said Jens Laerke, spokesman of the UN's humanitarian agency, as quoted by AFP.

Madaya is besieged by forces that support President Bashar al-Assad, while Foua and Kafraya in northwest Syria are surrounded by rebel groups.

Residents of Madaya continue to die of starvation and suffer a lack of medical supplies, despite the delivery of aid earlier this month, according to Doctors without Borders (MSF).

MSF said on Saturday that at least 16 people have died since three aid convoys entered the town near the Lebanese border on January 11.

Madaya has been under siege by government forces and Hezbollah fighters since July.

It was estimated just before the January 11 convoy that 42,000 people in Madaya had little or no access to food, resulting in the deaths of at least 28 people by starvation. 

In Kafraya and Foua, Nusra Front and other rebel groups have cut off about 12,500 people from access to aid supplies.