The United Nations says the Syrian government has approved a request for new aid deliveries to the besieged villages of Madaya, Foua and Kfarya.

Civilians in the three villages have reportedly starved to death because aid deliveries were blocked until about three weeks ago.

The government's approval was announced Monday as talks aimed at ending the Syrian conflict started in Geneva between the government and opposition.

The U.N. humanitarian office said it plans to ask the Syrian government to allow health and nutrition experts to go to the three villages to assess the needs and deliver supplemental nutrition supplies.