A Russian soldier stands guard as truckloads of aid cross the Wafidin area, northeast of Damascus, toward the rebel-held Douma district in the Eastern Ghouta countryside on March 5, 2018. As many as 46 truckloads of relief aid entered the rebel-held Douma district in the Eastern Ghouta countryside east of the Syrian capital Damascus on Monday. (Xinhua/Ammar Safarjalani)
UNITED NATIONS, March 5 (Xinhua) -- An inter-agency convoy loaded with humanitarian supplies has entered besieged Eastern Ghouta in Syria for the first time since Nov. 15, 2017, a UN spokesperson said Monday.
A convoy of the United Nations, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross on Monday entered Douma, a city 10 km northeast of Syrian capital Damascus, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.
The team is delivering food for 27,500 people in need, along with health and nutrition supplies, he said.
A Syrian child whose face has blood stains looks on while sitting in a makeshift hospital in the rebel-held town of Douma, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, following reported regime bombardment on March 3, 2018. (Xinhua/AFP)
Some of the planned health supplies were not allowed to be loaded. Consequently, three of the 46 trucks were nearly empty.
He said fighting and airstrikes continued in the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta on Monday, including in Douma, while the convoy was unloading. At the same time, shelling from Eastern Ghouta reportedly hit Damascus.
"The United Nations calls on all parties to facilitate unconditional, unimpeded, and sustained access to all people in need throughout the country, especially to Eastern Ghouta and other besieged and hard-to-reach areas throughout Syria," Dujarric said.
Eastern Ghouta has been turbulent since rebel forces took hold in 2012. The militants have been launching attacks on the capital with mortar shells as well as through incursions.
A member of the Syrian government forces looks out from a heavily armed military vehicle in al-Shifoniya as they advance in the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta area on March 4, 2018. (Xinhua/AFP)
The enclave grabbed fresh international attention last month when the military crackdown gained momentum with the government showing determination to dislodge the rebels.