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U.N. aid trucks reach Syria refugee camp

Reuters AMMAN (Reuters) — A United Nations aid convoy on Saturday reached the Rukban refugee camp in Syria where thousands of people are stranded in the desert, close to the border with Jordan, 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 U.N. on humanitarian aid convoys.

The United Nations said it was delivering food, sanitation and hygiene supplies, nutrition and health assistance to 50,000 people in Rukban, an area under rebel control, in an operation expected to take three to four days.

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent is also taking part in the convoy, which will also involve an emergency vaccination campaign for 10,000 children against measles, polio and other diseases, a U.N. statement said.

“While this much-needed delivery is an important achievement, a longer term solution must be found for the many civilians living in Rukban,” said Ali al-Za’tari, the U.N. resident and humanitarian coordinator in Syria.

The U.S. State Department welcomed the news. “We also recognize Russia’s role in persuading the regime to finally comply with the U.N. Security Council’s authorizations for the delivery of cross-line humanitarian aid by issuing the administrative approvals required for this convoy to move,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

“We hope to see Russia use its influence with the regime to address the continued lack of humanitarian access across much of Syria,” she added.Speech

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