About 20 refugees have left the Al-Tanf safe zone near the US military base via the Jleb humanitarian corridor, head of the Russian Center for reconciliation of the conflicting sides in Syria Sergei Solomatin told reporters on Wednesday.
On February 19 two humanitarian corridors were opened to facilitate the refugees’ exit from the Rukban refugee camp in Syria.
“On the day of the opening, 23 people passed through the Jleb humanitarian corridor, those who resided in the 55-kilometer Al-Tanf zone,” Solomatin said.
According to the center, local militants have blocked the exits from the Rukban camp by building an earth berm. The militants threatened the refugees with “jail and death” on the territory under the control of the Syrian government.
“At the same time, the possibility of exit of foreign fighters from the 55-kilometer zone to Jordan and Iraq is not limited, while militants from the Islamic State terrorist group and their families have been moved to the Rukban camp from the eastern shore of the Euphrates river, where the pro-American ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ are leading the so-called ‘victorious war against the last remnants of the IS’ in Syria, promoted by the Western media,” the general explained.
Along with the Russian military, members of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are stationed at the checkpoints, ready to provide medical aid to refugees leaving the Rukban camp.
Earlier, a spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that refugees at the Rukban camp find themselves “in inhumane conditions,” and urged to release at least women and children from the camp.
The Rukban refugee camp is located near the town of Al-Tanf in the Homs province, 20 kilometers from a US military base, near which the American armed forces had earlier trained militants from the Syrian opposition. In 2014, when the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia) terrorists began their invasion of Syria, tens of thousands of Syrians from the eastern provinces fled to the Al-Tanf area hoping to cross into Jordan. However, the Jordanian authorities shut the border for security reasons as well as due to economic difficulties. This is how the Rukban refugee camp emerged. According to the World Health Organization, about 40,000 people currently live there.