Russia, Syria Statement «On the Problems of Rukban Camp Disbandment in the Context of Coronavirus Infection’s Spread»

JOINT STATEMENT Interagency Coordination Headquarters of the Russian Federation and the Syrian Arab Republic «On the problems of Rukban camp disbandment in the context of coronavirus infection’s spread»

Russian and Syrian interagency coordination headquarters continue to make significant efforts to restore peaceful life in the country and provide comprehensive assistance to Syrian citizens in returning to their homeland. At the same time, special attention is paid to the implementation of anti-epidemic measures’ complex in the country within the framework of combating with coronavirus infection’s spread.

At the same time, restrictive measures introduced in connection with the pandemic objectively limited the spread of the epidemic and number of Syrian citizens returned to homeland continues to grow and today has reached 2,144,972.

Russia and Syria continue to make efforts to expedite the disbandment of the Rukban refugee camp. The only obstacle to this goal remains the hypocritical position of the American side, which declares its commitment to universally recognized humanitarian values and human freedoms, but does nothing to comply with them.

Once again, the United States demonstrates its readiness to let everyone out of Rukban in exchange for delivery the humanitarian aid to the camp. In this way, the US side seeks to provide their militants with everything necessary at the expense of international humanitarian organizations, instead of solving the Camp’s problems on their own, as required by international law from the occupier.

At the same time, Russia and Syria, with the goal of finally resolving the Rukban problem and saving Syrian citizens, have already agreed to the delivery of humanitarian goods to the At-Tanf zone in September 2019 and have fulfilled all their obligations on the withdrawal of the remaining inhabitants plan developed jointly with the UN. However, the American side actually thwarted the implementation of this UN initiative. Despite of numerous US promises to influence on fighters controlled by them, leaders of illegal armed groups appropriated the bulk of humanitarian aid and unilaterally reduced the duration of the humanitarian mission and prevented residents from leaving the Camp. As a result, instead of the claimed 2,500, only 336 Syrian citizens left Rukban.

The failed results of so-called cooperation undermine confidence in the American side and testify that Washington is responsible for the plight of refugees in Rukban, who are held hostage by US-controlled armed gangs.

Vivid examples of application by the American side on the territory of the republic, destructive approaches used to realize their own interests are new anti-Syrian sanctions aimed at strangling the country’s economy, and an unleashed information campaign in support of the extension of the cross-border mechanism with the restoration of the previously closed Al-Yarubiya checkpoint.

We remind that the cross-border method of delivering humanitarian goods is temporary and no longer meets the current situation in the republic where the legitimate Syrian government controls most of the country. Taking care on the welfare of its citizens, the Syrian leadership is actively collaborating with international humanitarian organizations and facilitating the delivery of necessary assistance, including uncontrolled territories.

On April 14, the Syrian authorities approved a joint humanitarian convoy of the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to IDP camps in the Idlib de-escalation zone. However, the planned operation has not been implemented yet.

It testifies Western countries’ intention to prevent the regular supply of humanitarian assistance with the permission of the Syrian authorities and their interest in maintaining a cross-border channel of support for opposition enclaves that is not controlled by the government.

We are sure that it is the illegal presence of the United States and their allies on the territory of a sovereign state constitutes to be the main obstacle for fully ensuring the sanitary and epidemiological well-being of Syrian citizens, including those living in non-government controlled areas.

We demand to ensure free withdrawal from the Rukban camp to the places of chosen residence of all interested Syrians without preconditions, to liberate the occupied territory of the At-Tanf zone and transfer it under the control of the legal government of Syria.