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Red Cross: Aid Convoy Refused Entry into Syrian Town


FILE - Members of the Syrian Red Cross stand near aid vehicles in the besieged town of Madaya about 15 miles (24 kilometers) northwest of Damascus, Syria, Jan. 11, 2016. Red Cross trucks were refused entry Thursday in the Syrian town of Daraya.

FILE - Members of the Syrian Red Cross stand near aid vehicles in the besieged town of Madaya about 15 miles (24 kilometers) northwest of Damascus, Syria, Jan. 11, 2016. Red Cross trucks were refused entry Thursday in the Syrian town of Daraya.

The Red Cross says an aid convoy headed for the rebel-held Syrian town of Daraya was refused entry Thursday, despite the fact that it was bringing the first supplies the town has seen in three years of fighting.

The convoy had been given prior clearance from all sides to deliver its supplies, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross. It did not say which party had blocked the trucks.

The United Nations says the Syrian government has been refusing to allow U.N. aid deliveries to hundreds of thousands of people who have been cut off from supplies by warring factions, including the government, rebels and Islamic State.

U.N. spokesman Stéphane Dujarric told reporters Thursday that the development was "extremely disappointing." He said U.N. officials in the region decided to give up on the mission to Daraya because of the removal of children's nutritional items at the last checkpoint, despite earlier approval from the Syrian government for those items.

FILE - Men ride a motorbike past buildings damaged by what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Daraya, Jan. 15, 2014.

FILE - Men ride a motorbike past buildings damaged by what activists said was shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Daraya, Jan. 15, 2014.

Thursday's aid to Daraya would have been the first delivery to the town since November 2012.

The U.N. estimates the population of Daraya is fewer than 10,000 people today, compared with 70,000 before the outbreak of the Syrian war.

The U.N. Security Council on Thursday released a statement expressing "outrage" at the recent attacks in Syria against civilians and civilian objects, as well as indiscriminate acts. The council said such acts may amount to war crimes.

The statement noted that combatants are obligated to respect international humanitarian law, particularly in distinguishing between civilian populations and combatants.

The Security Council also said the primary responsibility of the Syrian government is to protect its citizens.

The council's statement condemned the terrorist attacks and the destruction carried out by Islamic State and other groups associated with al-Qaida, and it called on all parties to commit to putting an end to such attacks.

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