Russian-Syrian Coordination Headquarters Joint Statement on Problems Hindering the Implementation Initiative on Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons Return to Their Residence

JOINT STATEMENT
Interagency Coordination Headquarters
of the Russian Federation and the Syrian Arab Republic
«On the problems hindering the implementation of initiative
on refugees and internally displaced persons
return to places of their residence»
March 28, 2020

Russia and Syria interagency coordination headquarters are consistently taking steps based on the basic principles of the Charter of the United Nations, which facilitate the return of Syrians to their chosen places of residence.

Up to the date, 2,141,451 of Syrian citizens returned to their native places, of which 1,334,318 are internally displaced persons and 807,133 refugees from abroad. The Syrian government continuously work to restore stability and security in the country, as well as the speedy adaptation in society of all returning citizens.

The Syrian leadership pays special attention to the implementation of anti-epidemic measures’ complex in the country against the backdrop of the coronavirus infection’s rapid spread in the world. The Syrian government approved the Ministry of Health and other departments’ six-month plan to counteract the spread of coronavirus. The number of quarantine departments has been increased and 19 work groups have been developed in all regions of the country for monitoring the occurrence of infections. Additional laboratories are setting up in Damascus, Latakia and Aleppo provinces together with the World Health Organization.

At the same time, the American side cynically seeks to take advantage on the situation with the spread of coronavirus, exerts pressure on the UN leadership to bring “humanitarian” cargo into the Rukban camp and feeds controlled militants under the guise of diagnostic supplies of infection.

So-called “camp administration”, at the suggestion from its American curators, is stepping up an awareness-raising campaign to attract the attention of the world community to the “critical” situation of local residents and the necessity of urgent international assistance to prevent a “humanitarian catastrophe”.

Once again, we emphasize that the humanitarian problem of Rukban is a consequence of the illegal occupation of this Syrian part by the United States. Russian Federation and the Syrian Arab Republic have already taken all necessary measures for the speedy releasing and evacuation of Rukban refugees on the government-controlled territory to their homes and will continue to do it.

Russian and Syrian sides fully implemented all obligations under the UN plan for evacuation the remaining refugees from Rukban. We consider that further attempts to justify their inaction on the part of the United States and UN humanitarian agencies are unreasonable.

Up to the date, about 13.5 thousand residents are staying in Rukban, of which more than 6 thousand are militants and members of their families. The rest of refugees are still staying in the camp by the reason of bullying them by US-controlled militants groups. Syrians are encouraged that returning citizens at home are allegedly waiting for the Syrian authorities’ arbitrariness.

Once again, we declare with all responsibility that for every Syrian who wishes to enter the government-controlled territory the doors are always open. All necessary conditions for a decent accommodation have been already created. Refugees from the At-Tanf zone will be provided with the necessary humanitarian, medical and social assistance.

The Syrian government is ready to test all those leaving Rukban for coronavirus and, if infected, to organize their hospitalization and treatment.

We believe that the American side’s reluctance to exert influence on their militants for ensure unhindered departure of people from the Camp and the safe work of humanitarian representatives in the At-Tanf zone they occupied is clear evidence of their intention. The true US intention for Rukban is maintaining the assembly line for training extremists used to maintain hotbeds of tension in Syria.

The only solution for the humanitarian problem of the Rukban refugee camp, guaranteeing the return Syrians to normal life in their homes, is its final disbandment, the withdrawal of American units from the At-Tanf area they occupied and transfer of territory under the control of legitimate government of Syria.