KUALA LUMPUR, The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) General Secreatariat has launched an urgent appeal to the international community to extend assistance and support to the blockaded cities of Madaya and Zabadani in Syria and Taaez in Yemen.

In a statement, the Jeddah-based organisation said that all, including OIC member states and humanitarian organisations, should take immediate action to allow access for humanitarian aid to the citizens and ensure that it reached all the areas under siege both in Syria and Yemen.

Madaya and Zabadani, two towns in Syria near the border of Lebanon, are the centre of fighting between Syria's Bashar al-Assad's government and opposition forces.

Meanwhile, Taaez or Taiz, sees continuous fighting between the Houthi rebel group and the Yemen government forces since April, 2015.

The OIC General Secretariat said that it had been following with deep concern the critical humanitarian situation, which claimed the lives of hundreds of people due to starvation and disease.

"The blockade and starvation inflicted upon the peaceful citizens in Syria and Yemen amount to war crimes. The citizens need to be protected against the woes of armed conflicts," it said.

The OIC General Secretariat said it also noted the announcements made on the understanding reached to facilitate access of humanitarian aid to the people under siege in Syria and Yemen.

According to the United Nations (UN) website, a humanitarian convoy had reached the besieged Syrian town of Madaya on Monday with health and food supplies for the 42,000 desperate residents after reports of people starving to death under encirclement by pro-government forces.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) had also on Dec 31 last year appealed to all parties to the conflict in Yemen to allow food in for hundreds of thousands of hungry people under siege in the central city of Taiz, who have been deprived of supplies for many weeks.

The WFP estimated that 400,000 of Taiz population are internally displaced and in dire need of some kind of humanitarian aid.

Source: BERNAMA

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