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US State Department Spokeswoman Accuses Damascus of Stealing Humanitarian Aid

© AP Photo / Alex BrandonState Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert speaks during a briefing at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert speaks during a briefing at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017 - Sputnik International
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States welcomed the delivery of first humanitarian convoy to the besieged Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta since November 15, but accused Damascus of “pilfering” the supplies, US Department of State spokeswoman Heather Nauert said on Tuesday.

“We welcome this much-needed step forward for the people of #Syria. We’ve seen reports that the Syrian regime is pilfering aid, stealing badly needed medicine and supplies. Syria and #Russia can (and must) put a stop to this!” Nauert wrote on Twitter, attaching the statement of the World Food Programme on the delivery of aid.

​United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Monday that the relief teams were able to deliver food for about 27,500 people and noted that the delivery was taking place against the background of continuous shelling of the areas by the militants.

Stephane Dujarric also told reporters that the aid convoy to Eastern Ghouta included three empty trucks because Syrian officials prevented the loading of trauma-kits and other emergency health supplies.

Syrian Aarb Red Crescent trucks transporting aid arrive in Ain Tarma, in the eastern Ghouta area, a rebel stronghold east of the Syrian capital Damascus - Sputnik International
Red Crescent Convoy Returns to Check Point in Eastern Ghouta With 13 Evacuees
"Many of the planned health supplies intended for Duma [in Eastern Ghouta] were not allowed to be loaded or to be replaced with other humanitarian items," Dujarric said. "The items included trauma kits and other life-saving supplies. Consequently three of the 46 trucks sent to Duma today were close to empty."

Eastern Ghouta was seized by militants in 2012. According to the Syrian Army estimates, there are 10,000-12,000 militants in the region. Despite the recent UN resolution, the fighting has not stopped, even when the humanitarian pause was in place, the Russian Defense Ministry's Center for Syrian reconciliation said. Because militants constantly target all exists from the enclave, civilians have been unable to leave the area, according to the center.

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