(BBC) – The UN’s humanitarian co-ordinator for Syria says 500 people with urgent medical needs must be evacuated from a besieged rebel-held area near Damascus. Jan Egeland said there had been nine deaths so far among those waiting for permission to leave the Eastern Ghouta. Dozens of civilians are also reported to have been killed in recent air and artillery attacks by government forces, though a ceasefire is now in place. Food shortages have meanwhile led to many cases of severe malnutrition.