UN completes aid delivery to Syrians stranded near Jordan
More than 70 UN-led aid trucks arrived on Saturday in the first delivery to a rebel-held camp that houses more than 50,000 people, mostly women and children.
"We finished distribution of all items, food, sanitation and hygiene supplies and core relief items," Fadwa Abed Rabou Baroud, a UN official, told Reuters.
"The overall humanitarian situation in Rukban camp remains dire, with shortages of basic commodities, protection concerns, and the death of several children who reportedly were unable to get medical treatment," he added.
But Baroud cautioned that the delivery, which took place under the protection of Russia's army, would be just a brief respite for those displaced by the now seven-year-old war.
He added that the UN will also vaccinate some 10,000 children against measles, polio and other diseases.
The camp is located near the Syria, Jordan and Iraqi borders. It lies within a "deconfliction zone" and is close to the Tanf US military base.
Aid groups and Western governments have long asked regime-backer Moscow to apply pressure on President Bashar al-Assad to allow humanitarian access to frontlines.
In December last year, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on the Assad regime to be referred to the International Criminal Court for blocking aid deliveries.
Tens of thousands of Syrians have fled to Rukban camp in the past several years from areas controlled by the Islamic State that were targeted by Russian and US-led airstrikes.
The Syrian war began in 2011 when Assad's regime responded with military force to peaceful protests during the Arab Spring wave of uprisings, triggering an armed rebellion fuelled by mass defections from the Syrian army.
According to independent monitors, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed in the war, mostly by the regime and its powerful allies, and millions have been displaced both inside and outside of Syria.
Agencies contributed to this report.
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