BEIRUT — A top U.N. humanitarian adviser for Syria says 12 people have died awaiting evacuation from government-besieged suburbs of Damascus.

Jan Egeland says they were on a U.N. waiting list first drawn up six months ago for evacuation from the eastern Ghouta suburbs.

Egeland spoke to reporters in Geneva on Thursday, where a delegation of the Syrian opposition is awaiting the government to resume U.N.-brokered talks.

Egeland says the government has refused to approve evacuations on the U.N. list, which has now reached 494 names. He says they are suffering from cancer, kidney failure, severe malnutrition, and other urgent medical conditions.

Conditions are dire in the rebel-held enclave, where some 400,000 people are trapped under the government’s siege.

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