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October 30, 2018

UN Request for Rukban Aid Delivery Finally Granted

This week, thousands of civilians stranded in a camp on the Jordanian-Syrian border will finally receive the aid they desperately require.

The breakthrough comes after a siege this month by the Syrian army led to depleted food stores at the camp in the Rukban area of southeast Syria.

That has led to at least a dozen deaths in the past week among its more than 50,000 inhabitants, mainly women and children.

“The overall humanitarian situation inside the Rukban camp is at a critical stage. The U.N. in Syria together with Syrian Red Arab Cresent (SARC) will reach the camp to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance in the coming few days.” the U.N. Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Syria, Ali Al-Za’tari, said in a statement.

Aid agencies have fought hard to reach camp residents, despite severe restrictions imposed by the Jordanian government in response to terror attacks in the area.

In June 2016, when a suicide bomb claimed by Daesh killed seven Jordanian soldiers in no-man’s land near the nearby Rukban crossing. The army quickly declared Jordan’s desert regions that stretch northeast to Syria and east to Iraq “closed military zones.”

The kingdom has allowed several humanitarian aid deliveries to the area following UN requests, but the borders remain closed.

Last week, after months of appeals and negotiations, the UN successfully brokered a deal to allow its agencies and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to send a joint aid convoy to the camp. It will be the first delivery of UN aid to the area since January 2018, which took place through Jordan after the Syrian regime closed all roads to Rukban.

Officials have reportedly been pressing Moscow to get its ally Damascus to end its siege of Rukban but have been met with much intransigence.

Western diplomats believe this is part of a Russian-led strategy to put pressure on Washington to get out of Tanf.

Syria Counts supports UNICEF, the UN children’s agency, in its call for international appeals to allow basic health service deliveries to the camp. The lives of thousands of children depend on it.

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