Accessibility links

Breaking News

UN Set to Air-drop Food to Syrian Area Held by IS

FILE - Men ride bicycles past a damaged mosque along a deserted street filled with debris in Deir al-Zor, Syria, March 5, 2014.

The United Nations is planning to conduct its first air drops of food aid to besieged areas in Syria within a week, a U.N. official says.

U.N. humanitarian task force chairman Jan Egeland says the first drops will take place over Deir al-Zor, a town of 200,000 besieged by Islamic State forces.

U.N. aid agencies say they do not have access to areas held by the Islamic State group.

Egeland says since Wednesday more than 100 U.N. trucks have delivered life-saving humanitarian supplies to 80,000 people in five Syrian towns under siege by Syrian forces or rebels.

The United Nations has repeatedly called for all parties in Syria to allow unhindered humanitarian access.

U.N. officials estimate 13.5 million people in Syria need humanitarian assistance. Another 4.6 million Syrians have fled the country as refugees since early 2011.