By Robert Norton

The BBC reports that the last remaining food rations are being distributed in besieged rebel-held eastern districts of the Syrian city of Aleppo, according to the United Nations. Without a resupply there would be no food left to hand out next week to the 275,000 people living there. Humanitarian agencies have been unable to get into rebel-held Aleppo since the government siege resumed in September, and the last time significant aid supplies were delivered was in July. A UN spokesperson said airdrops of food were not possible in densely-populated urban areas.

Syrian government forces launched a major assault on eastern Aleppo in September, and since then troops have pushed into several outlying areas with the help of Iranian-backed Shia militias and Russian air strikes. Rebels launched a counter-attack in late October, but progress has slowed. The UN says more than 700 civilians have been killed in the eastern districts, while rocket-fire has left scores dead in the government-controlled west.

Jan Egeland, the special adviser to the UN envoy for Syria, told journalists in Geneva that the UN’s humanitarian taskforce had received a report that the last remaining food rations were being handed out. He said food prices are skyrocketing on the market, and the last time the people received any humanitarian aid was at the beginning of July.

Egeland said that he had never seen such “politicization and manipulation” of aid as was taking place in Syria, adding that the constant preconditions being imposed on aid operations were making successful deliveries of supplies impossible. He added that the only progress made at all had taken place when the United States and Russia were involved and using their influence.

Russia is set to resume air strikes after a three-week pause to allow civilians and rebels to be evacuated, although few left. Although basic infrastructure and health care have been obliterated, most people remain because they say they don’t trust the “humanitarian corridors” and they have no money to go anywhere else. READ MORE