The number of people living under siege in Syria has doubled this year to almost one million, the UN says.
Emergency Relief Co-ordinator Stephen O’Brien said the figure had jumped from 486,700 to 974,080 in six months.
People were being “isolated, starved, bombed and denied medical attention and humanitarian assistance in order to force them to submit or flee,” he said.
Mr O’Brien noted that the “deliberate tactic of cruelty” was mostly employed by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
“Those maintaining the sieges know by now that this Council is apparently unable or unwilling to enforce its will or agree now on steps to stop them,” he told the UN Security Council.
Newly besieged locations include the rebel-held Damascus suburbs of Jobar, Hajar al-Aswad and Khan al-Shih, as well as several areas in the eastern Ghouta agricultural belt outside the capital.