Joint Coordination Committee Discuss the Humanitarian Crisis in Rukban Camp and the Repatriation of Syrian Refugees

Report by Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev.

Dear colleagues!

Today we hold another session of joint coordination committees of the Russian Federation of the Syrian Arab Republic.

A total of 1,676,833 Syrian citizens have already returned to their homes from abroad, with 1,282,053 of internally displaced persons and 394,780 of refugees.

Over the past month, more than 31,541 Syrian citizens have returned to their homes, including more than 4,805 internally displaced persons and over 26,736 refugees from foreign countries.

Measures are being actively taken to rehabilitate social infrastructure of the country. Over the past week, the following facilities were repaired and commissioned in:

5,300 houses,

297 medical institutions,

1,497 educational institutions,

312 water supply facilities,

319 bakeries,

1,078 power supply stations,

14,263 industrial enterprises.

Thus, the positive dynamics in the restoration of social facilities and infrastructure of Syria persists, which, in turn, contributes to the improvement of the overall situation in the country.

The Syrian Government has done tremendous work to improve the regulatory framework aimed at encouraging the return of refugees:

the decree №18 declaring an amnesty signed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been established and is working;

according with the changes made to Law №10 work continues to restore the rights of citizens to abandoned property;

a simplified procedure for the receipt or restoration by citizens of the necessary identity documents has been developed and is in effect;

a deferment from military service is provided for the returning of male population.

A large-scale activity has been launched in all international venues, including in New York, Washington, Geneva and Amman, aimed at implementing the initiative to return Syrian citizens to their homeland and assist the Syrian government in creating decent living conditions in the country.

For more information on the implementation of measures for the repatriation of Syrian refugees to the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic, please inform the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Igor Viktorovich Tsarikov.

Report of the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

Over the past week, one significant event can be distinguished on the Syrian settlement, the third international donor conference on Syria, held in Brussels on March 13-14. Unfortunately, representatives of official Damascus were once again not invited to the forum, and it is contrary to the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law. The conference participants pledged to provide 7 billion US dollars in humanitarian aid this year and another 2.4 billion US dollars for 2020. However, the provision of financial assistance by donors is again politicized and surrounded by preliminary requirements.

It may be noted the visit to Syria in early March by the delegation led by Filippo Grandi Commissioner of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees During the study tour and live communication with the Syrians who returned to Homs and Hama provinces, the UN humanitarian workers were personally convinced that the repatriates live in normal conditions and do not express complaints after returning home.

These are the conditions that the Syrian authorities are ready to give to their citizens who are striving to leave the Rukban camp. We would like to show the position of the Russian side that the only solution to the Rukban problem is the early disbanding of the camp and the resettlement of its inhabitants. We are convinced that palliative measures, first of all, the sending of convoys with food and medicines there will not ensure the rectification of the humanitarian situation in Rukban, especially since the overwhelming majority of those who are there would like to leave it as soon as possible.

Report by Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev.

Igor Viktorovich, thanks for the detailed report. As we see, the situation in the al-Tanf zone, which has been illegally occupied by the American side, continues to be in the center of attention of the international community and requires urgent cardinal measures to resolve it.

Despite the measures taken, the Rukban internally displaced persons camp continues to exist. Its population is in catastrophic conditions, which are aggravated every day.

Recent space images show that the number of graves in spontaneous cemeteries located in the immediate vicinity of the dwellings continues to grow rapidly. There are daily reports of the death of young children as a result of unsanitary conditions and infectious diseases, as well as the absence of doctors and elementary medical care in the camp.

And our American so called partners calmly look at all this.

But we cannot remain indifferent to the suffering of people in the Rukban camp, and with a sense of full responsibility, we insist on the early elimination of this source of violence, crime and the spread of dangerous infections on the Syrian-Jordanian border.

According to the basic principles of the United Nations, such as respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of race, language and religion, pursuing a sincere desire to save the suffering people of Rukban who find themselves in inhuman conditions, the Joint Coordination Committee of Russia and Syria decided:

At 10:00 on March 26, 2019, the local time, the Head of the Russian Centre for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides and Refugee Migration Monitoring in the Syrian Arab Republic, Major General Viktor Kupchishin will hold a coordination meeting at the Jleb checkpoint, to develop agreed step-by-step activities disbanding the Rukban camp.

The representatives of the Syrian Joint Coordination Committee, the Ministry of Municipal Administration and the National Security Bureau will take part in the meeting. .

In order to develop coordinated step-by-step measures for the disbandment of the Rukban camp, we invite representatives of the command of American troops in the al-Tanf zone, as well as the United States diplomatic corps in Jordan and to ensure the presence of tribal sheikhs at the event to attend the coordination meeting.

We also invite the Jordanian side to participate in the meeting, whom are interested in the earliest possible resolution of the disbandment of the Rukban camp, which is the centre of the spread of terrorism, epidemics and poverty, located near the state border of Jordan.

We appeal to the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency in the Syrian Arab Republic and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of the UN Secretary-General to send representatives of their offices, as well as representatives of other humanitarian organizations, including the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, to this meeting.

During the event, include a visit to the Rukban camp by the working group consisting of representatives from the Syrian Arab Republic, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Jordan, and the United Nations to monitor, study and assess the situation directly in the places of residence of refugees.

Security of the movement and the reception of the refugees on the territory controlled by the Syrian government will be provided by the security forces of the Syrian Arab Republic in cooperation with the Russian military police units. We also appeal to the US command for its part to ensure the security of the event in the 55-kilometer al-Tanf zone they control.

At the same time, it is proposed to ensure the safety of a working group in the al-Tanf zone from the air by joint efforts, by agreement, with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles and aircraft of both the Russian Air Force and the US Air Force.

If it is impossible to hold a coordination meeting within a specified time frame, that is, on March 26, 2019, for any objective organizational or technical reasons, we offer reserve dates for holding: April 2 or 9, 2019 at 10.00 – local time , with the same composition and at the same place at the Jleb checkpoint.

If it is impossible to organize a visit to the Rukban camp through the Al-Tanf zone from the territory of Syria, please ensure that it is inspected from the Jordanian side. We are ready for this, in the name of saving the long-suffering residents of Rukban.

I turn to the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation.

Igor Viktorovich, I ask the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, taking into account the most difficult situation in the Rukban camp, in order to save suffering people, through appropriate diplomatic structures to resolve the issue of unimpeded access to the 55-kilometer al-Tanf zone and evacuating the camp population, to deploy an active work at all international platforms, primarily in New York, Washington, Geneva and Amman, with American colleagues.

I appeal to the head of the Syrian Joint Coordination Headquarters.

The conditions created in Latakia, as well as Khalidiyah, al-Amara, Homs, Mhine, al-Qaryatayn, Palmyra, the suburbs of Damascus and Aleppo, today provide decent accommodation more than 35,000 people.

Hoping for the positive results of the upcoming coordination meeting at the Jleb checkpoint, I ask you to keep the six columns of comfortable buses in constant readiness at any moment to go directly to the Rukban camp for simultaneous evacuation of up to 2,400 people to the specified places of their residence.

Dear colleagues! We count on the support of the world community and the United Nations in the implementation of our initiative to disband the Rukban internally displaced persons camp and evacuate suffering Syrian citizens.