Russia drops aid on besieged Syrian city

Damascus (AFP) –


Russian cargo planes have delivered humanitarian aid to regime-held neighbourhoods in Syria's eastern Deir Ezzor city, a monitor said Thursday.

They carried out the air drops on areas besieged by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group on Wednesday, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

State news agency SANA quoted a Syrian Arab Red Crescent official as saying "37.5 tonnes of food aid arrived in Deir Ezzor" in the first batch of an expected 90 tonnes of aid to reach the city.

The jihadists control 60 percent of Deir Ezzor city, where more than 200,000 people still live.

Around 70 percent of its remaining residents are women and children, according to the United Nations.

IS has controlled most of the oil-rich Deir Ezzor province since 2013, with the regime clinging on to parts of its provincial capital and its airport.

Nearly half a million people live under siege in Syria, the UN said in January.

Russia launched air strikes in support of Syria's government on September 30.

Syria's conflict has claimed 260,000 lives and displaced half the population since March 2011.