Aid convoy enters Damascus suburb

BEIRUT (AP) — The U.N. and the International Committee of the Red Cross delivered aid Monday for 30,000 people in a besieged rebel-held Damascus suburb.

The U.N.’s humanitarian coordination office OCHA said the convoy entered Qudsaya on Monday and that the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are taking part in the delivery.

ICRC spokeswoman Ingy Sedky said the delivery includes 6,000 canned food parcels, including beans, peas, tuna, dates and olive oil, as well as primary care medicine. Sedky added that the supplies should sustain 30,000 people, including 5,000 patients, for three months.

Aid has been delivered to several besieged areas in Syria in recent weeks.

Elsewhere in Damascus, the Islamic State group battled rival militants in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, breaking weeks of relative calm, opposition activists said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said IS is battling several other groups, including the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front and a Palestinian faction called Aknaf Beit al-Maqdis.

Mazen al-Shami, an activist based near Damascus, said militants have captured several buildings from IS in Yarmouk and the nearby neighborhood of Tadamon.

IS infiltrated and captured parts of Yarmouk camp in April 2015. Since then the camp, a built-up residential area that was once home to tens of thousands of Syrians and Palestinians, has seen sporadic fighting amid shortages of food.

Monday’s fighting came a day after President Bashar Assad paid a rare visit to the front lines in the Damascus suburb of Marj al-Sultan, where he broke the daily Ramadan fast with troops at an air base taken from insurgents in December.

“The meal that we will eat today is the best meal we will have in our lives,” Assad said.