UN starts first aid airlifts to Syria from Iraq as cold grips

Workers load humanitarian aid from United Nations onto a plane for Syrian families, in Erbil airport, about 350 km (220 miles) north of Baghdad, Dec. 15, 2013.
The United Nations has started to deliver humanitarian aid by air into Syria from northern Iraq.
After weather delays, a cargo plane carrying food took off Sunday from the city of Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan for a one-hour flight into northeastern Syria.
The U.N. World Food Program says food being sent during the next 12 days should be enough to feed more than 6,000 Syrian families for the rest of December. The aid flights will also carry blankets, medicine and clothing. 
The airlift was delayed from last week because of winter storms sweeping the region. The governments of Syria and Iraq approved the flights.
Syria\’s civil war has displaced hundreds of thousands of people.
In some of the latest fighting, a Britain-based activist group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, says government air strikes Sunday killed at least 36 people, including 15 children, in the northern city of Aleppo. 
Activists said helicopters dropped barrels laden with explosives on residential neighborhoods in the worst raids against the city in six months.
The observatory also reported at least 28 people had been killed in Adra, northeast of Damascus, since an al-Qaida-linked rebel faction attacked there on Wednesday.
Source: VOA and agencies
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