(CNN)Shukri Shehab and his wife have not slept in two nights. Their three-week-old granddaughter will not stop crying. She needs simple medicine for bloating, Shehab says, but it is nearly impossible for them to find.
Thousands are trapped in a desert settlement in Syria, near a US military base
Shehab lives in Rukban, an informal settlement for Syria's displaced people in a US-protected zone in southern Syria, roughly 10 miles away from an American military base. Shehab has been communicating with CNN over the last four months.
For more than 1,200 days, Shehab says he and his family have lived in this cluster of shelters sprinkled along a stretch of desert on the Syrian-Jordanian border. Activists dubbed it the "Triangle of Death." The United Nations called conditions "desperate," "catastrophic" and "no place for a child."
For years, the displaced in Rukban have been at the mercy of proxy powers and political players, leaving them with sporadic access to humanitarian aid and no safe way home. And for the past five months, the Syrian government has blocked humanitarian access to the encampment through its territories.
"No side is taking responsibility for these people," says Aron Lund, a Syria expert and fellow at the Century Foundation, a non-partisan think tank.
A State Department official tells CNN the US is "pursuing every possible avenue to deliver aid to Rukban." But so far Washington has not directly provided aid to the tens of thousands stuck in the settlement, even though the US has protected the area since 2016.