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A record 4.1 million people in Syria received food rations in August due to more convoys being able to cross front lines and borders from Turkey and Jordan, the U.N.'s World Food Program (WFP) said on Tuesday. "We are reaching more people every day with urgently needed food assistance – many of them have been going hungry for months," Muhannad Hadi, WFP's regional emergency coordinator for the Syria crisis, said in a statement. Over the last six weeks, WFP and partner agencies have crossed front lines to reach more than 580,000 people, over four times the 137,000 reached in the preceding six weeks, it said. "Since July 25, a total of five cross-border convoys, via the Bab Al Salam crossing from Turkey and Al Ramtha from Jordan, carried food rations including rice, lentils, oil, pasta, bulgur, canned food, wheat flour, beans, salt and sugar for 69,500 people in the hard-to-reach areas of Aleppo, Idlib, Quneitra and Deraa governorates," the WFP statement said.
Syrian forces carried out their fiercest assault on the rebel stronghold of Jobar in Damascus since the start of the three-year war, conducting at least 27 air strikes on Tuesday and killing a child, according to activists and rights groups. The government is trying to retake Jobar after the capture of several rebel-held areas around the center of the capital this summer, including the town of Mleiha just outside Damascus on August 14. State-run television said the army had gained ground in Jobar, located on the eastern outskirts of Damascus, and aired footage of rubble and tunnels it said had been used by rebels. Although insurgents have been prevented from taking central Damascus, President Bashar al-Assad's forces are worried they will reach it by digging tunnels from the sprawling suburbs and outlying towns under their control.