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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Eastern Ghouta: Aid convoy enters besieged enclave for first time since November

Nine trucks carrying food, health and nutrition supplies for 7,200 people entered the rebel-held area, where almost 400,000 civilians are under siege

Members of the Syrian Civil Defence Forces, known as the White Helmets, evacuate an air strike victim in the rebel-held enclave of Arbin, Eastern Ghouta, on February 9, 2018. Abdulmonam Eassa / AFP
Members of the Syrian Civil Defence Forces, known as the White Helmets, evacuate an air strike victim in the rebel-held enclave of Arbin, Eastern Ghouta, on February 9, 2018. Abdulmonam Eassa / AFP

An aid convoy reached the besieged Damascus enclave of Eastern Ghouta on Wednesday for the first time since November.

Nine trucks carrying food, health and nutrition supplies for 7,200 people entered the rebel-held area, where almost 400,000 civilians are under siege. It follows months of pleading by the United Nations for the Assad government to grant access and agree to a ceasefire.

"First @UN and @SYRedCrescent inter-agency convoy this year crossed conflict lines to #Nashabieh in #EastGhouta to deliver food, health and nutrition supplies for 7,200 people in the besieged enclave," the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a tweet.

The relief items included some 1.8 million tonnes of medical supplies from the World Health Organisation, said the body's representative in Syria, Elizabeth Hoff.

These were enough to provide 10,000 treatments, including antibiotics, dialysis sessions, insulin, life-saving medicines, trauma and pneumonia kits and hospitals beds, she said.

Ms Hoff also said there was no news regarding the more than 700 patients who await medical evacuation from Eastern Ghouta, for which the UN health agency has been seeking government approval for months.

Last week was one of the bloodiest in the nearly seven-year-old conflict as Syrian government forces, who are backed by Russia and Iran, bombarded two of the last major rebel areas of Syria — Eastern Ghouta and the northwestern province of Idlib.