Amman: A United Nations aid convoy on Saturday reached the Rukban refugee camp in Syria, next to the border with Jordan, where thousands of people are stranded in the desert, a member of the camp’s local council said.
“The first convoys have entered the camp,” said Abu Abdullah, a member of the civilian council that runs the camp and has coordinated with the UN on humanitarian aid convoys.
Rukban, located close to the Tanf US military base in the desert near where the borders of Syria, Jordan and Iraq converge, is home to more than 50,000 people whose last UN aid convoy arrived in January.
The camp was last month besieged on the Syrian side of the border by the Syrian army, preventing smugglers and traders from delivering food. A US-backed rebel group controls the area but it abuts Jordan’s border and is encircled by the Syrian army.
Jordan has put a block on aid crossing the frontier after allowing the January delivery through its territory, and says it should not be held responsible for conditions in the camp.
UN relief trucks had planned to deliver aid to Rukban a week ago after gaining clearance from Damascus, but were delayed for logistical and security reasons, the United Nations said.
Shortages of food and medicine at the camp have caused at least a dozen deaths in recent weeks; the United Nations described conditions there as “concerning” and said thousands of lives were at risk.