Thousands of starving Syrians welcomed aid convoys sent by international and local organisations into their towns on Monday, after the government and rebels made a deal to allow help to reach the people. The towns of Madaya, Kefraya and Foua have been worst hit, where thousands of people have been trapped without any food supplies for weeks, and have resorted to boiling grass in water as dozens died of malnutrition.

United Nations humanitarian chief Stephen O' Brien said reports of starvation are "wholly credible" and that around 400 people from Madaya might need to be evacuated for medical treatment. His remarks came after Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari said that reports of starving Syrians were not true and that the images spread of malnutritioned people were fabricated.

The trucks arrived first in Madaya, where the situation is acute, Al Jazeera reported. The town of 42,000 people has been under siege by Hezbollah forces since July, and at least 28 have died of starvation there, according to a Médecins Sans Frontières spokesperson. At least 49 trucks reached the town on Monday, carrying blankets and packages of rice, lentils and oil – enough to last 40,000 people for a month, United Nations officials said. A media activist from the town said another person died of starvation hours before the trucks arrived.

Even as aid started trickling in, locals said that the amount of food was not nearly enough to meet the needs. Syria’s ambassador to the UN also claimed that rebel forces had been looting the convoys and Turkish authorities have obstructed deliveries.

Experts estimate that at least 400,000 people are living under siege in Syria, where an international war is taking place. The civilians face the constant fear of death with forces including the government, rebels and major international players such as the United States and Russia waging war on their homeland.