The disastrous humanitarian situation in Syria’s Rukban camp, where US-backed militant groups are forcibly keeping refugees, leaves children no chance to survive, the heads of the Russian and Syrian inter-agency coordination headquarters, Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev and Hussein Makhlouf, said in a joint statement.
“The situation in the camp remains disastrous, its residents have to survive in the most difficult conditions, facing militant violence on a daily basis. Children are the ones who suffer the most. Given the lack of food and medical care, as well as dire sanitary condition and the spread of infectious diseases, nursing babies have little chance to survive. According to the family members of people living in the camp, most of those who die in Rukban every day are children under the age of two,” the statement reads.
According to Russian and Syrian representatives, Syrian nationals have been held in the camp for 1,773 days and while the United States demands Damascus create ideal conditions for temporary displaced persons, it may happen so that soon there will be no one to rescue.
“We once again call on the US to take steps to dismantle the Rukban camp and ensure the safety of those refugees who wish to return to their places of permanent residence, and leave the illegally occupied areas of Syria,” the statement says.
Mizintsev and Makhlouf also welcomed the Jordanian government’s determination to provide comprehensive assistance to Syrians residing in Jordan in returning to their home country. “We expect that our Jordanian colleagues will continue participating in the implementation of initiatives concerning the return of Syrian refugees and the dismantling of the camp,” the document notes.
The Rukban refugee camp is located in the Al-Tanf security zone, where a US military base is stationed. Entrances to the zone are controlled by opposition militants. According to the World Health Organization, the camp currently hosts about 40,000 refugees, mostly women and children.
On March 5, the Russian Defense Ministry said that a cemetery with 300 fresh graves had been found near the camp. According to the ministry, the cemetery can be seen on satellite photos.