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First UN aid convoy enters Syria's Deir Ezzor in three years

AFP , Friday 15 Sep 2017
Deir Ezzor
Syrian forces begin their advance on the area of Bughayliyah, on the northern outskirts of Deir Ezzor on September 13, 2017, during their ongoing battle against the Islamic State (IS) group (Photo: AFP)
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The United Nations said Friday that its first aid convoy in three years had reached Syria's Deir Ezzor city via road after government troops broke a jihadist siege last week.

Trucks carrying "life-saving items" like wheat flour, canned foods and nutrition and maternal health items for 15,000 families reached Deir Ezzor on Thursday, UN humanitarian agency spokesman Jens Laerke told reporters in Geneva.

"This is the first UN aid delivered by road to Deir Ezzor since the city was retaken," he told reporters in Geneva.

While the first from the UN, the convoy was not the first to reach the city since the siege was broken on September 5, with trucks carrying in food aid from the Syrian Trade Association last week.

And the some 100,000 people who were estimated to be trapped in the government-held area during the siege that began in 2014 were not completely cut off from aid before then.

The UN carried out 309 successful airdrops of aid during the siege, Laerke said Friday.

The Syrian government was also able to periodically bring in supplies by helicopter.

The UN refugee agency said Friday that it had sent in five trucks carrying shelter materials, plastic sheeting and solar lamps for 30,000 people.

More than 330,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests before spiralling into a bloody civil war.

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