WATCH: Desperation in starving Daraya after aid convoy turned away


Activist footage from the rebel-held area shows harrowing scenes following reported government strikes

Syrian government forces inspect damage to a house in Daraya in February (AFP)
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Last update: 
Saturday 14 May 2016 12:05 UTC

Activists in the besieged Syrian town of Daraya reported fresh shelling on Saturday morning, with opposition forces saying they had receiving information that government forces were planning a fresh assault on the area in the coming days. 

The warning came a day after opposition politicians in Syria accused President Bashar al-Assad of “pre-meditated war crimes” after pro-government forces reportedly turned away humanitarian aid from a besieged area then shelled civilians who had been waiting for the shipment. 

The rebel-held Damascus suburb of Daraya was due to receive a shipment of five trucks Thursday, including baby milk, vaccines and school supplies.

The Red Cross said the convoy, which would have been the first to enter Daraya since it came under siege in 2012, was refused entry at the last minute despite having prior clearance from the government.

Minutes after the convoy was turned back, government forces reportedly shelled the areas where civilians had been standing waiting to receive the supplies, killing two people and injuring five.

The Syria Campaign, a group of anti-government activists that documents the conflict, published harrowing footage claiming to show a man walking through Daraya following one of the strikes on Thursday, desperately calling for help for injured people lying in the streets.

The Red Cross and the British government have expressed disappointment at the Syrian government’s decision to turn back the aid convoy.

The deputy head of the Syrian National Coalition, the exiled opposition government of Syria, said Friday that “the Assad forces’ prevention of the entry of humanitarian convoys to Daraya and then their targeting of groups of civilians is a pre-meditated war crime”.

“This is another confirmation that the regime is not serious about any negotiations,” Muwafaq Nirbiyeh said in a statement, calling on the UN Security Council to find innovative solutions to protect civilians in Syria after five years of war.

The convoy scheduled to arrive on Thursday did not contain food supplies, but footage circulated by activists showed women from Daraya saying that they and their children had not eaten for days.

“We cannot tolerate this any more. We have been besieged for five years,” one resident said.