UN Plans First Air Drops of Food Aid to Besieged in Syria

Many states have pledged support in operation, UN humanitarian task force chair says.

FILE PHOTO: A convoy of trucks loaded with humanitarian supplies heading to the besieged town of Madaya, January 2016.

REUTERS - The United Nations plans to make its first air drops of food aid in Syria, to Deir al-Zor, a town of 200,000 besieged by Islamic State forces, the chair of a UN humanitarian task force said on Thursday.

Jan Egeland, speaking to reporters after the task force met in Geneva, said that the UN's World Food Program had a "concrete plan" for carrying out the operation in coming days, but gave no details.

"It's a complicated operation and would be in many ways the first of its kind," Egeland said, adding that many member states pledged support, including Russia and the United States.

In the past 24 hours, 114 UN trucks delivered life-saving food and medical supplies to 80,000 people in five besieged areas, Egeland said, heralding progress but calling for access to more than 4 million people in hard-to-reach areas of Syria.