Russian and Syrian joint coordination headquarters make another statement on the plight of the Syrians in the Rukban and al-Hol camps
by joint coordination headquarters of the Russian Federation and the Syrian Arab Republic
"On the problems hampering the evacuation of refugees and the plight of the residents in the Rukban and al Hol refugee camps"
(June 19, 2019)
The situation in the Rukban and al-Hol refugee camps located in the US-controlled territories of Syria remains critical.
Understanding the need to quickly end the daily suffering of camp residents, which is possible only through the complete closure of these “ghettos”, the Syrian authorities continue to make tremendous efforts to rebuild the country's infrastructure and implement unprecedented measures to create the necessary conditions for the returnees.
More than 14,000 Syrians, who managed to leave the Rukban camp, have already been able to see for themselves that the Syrian government accomplishes guarantees to ensure the voluntary, safe and dignified return of its citizens to their chosen places of residence. The relevant UN structures have already positively assessed the conditions created by the Syrian authorities for returning refugees.
At the same time, the US leadership, pursuing only its own political interests, continues to impede the process of resettlement of refugees. With the direct support of the US military, armed gangs under their control intensify pressure on the residents of the Rukban camp in order to block any attempts to leave its territory. At the same time, the fee charged by the militants for getting out of the Rukban increased from $ 400 to $ 1,000 per person, which is simply too much for any resident of the camp.
At the same time, the humanitarian situation in the camp, where about 28,000 Syrians continue to be in terrible conditions, is rapidly deteriorating. Responsibility for the lives of people who are still forced to endure miserable life in Rukban rests entirely with the American side.
Despite the fact the UN declared its readiness to assist in the evacuation of Syrians from these camps, no work has been seen on this issue which would cause an increased flow of people leaving the "death camps".
We are concerned about the assessment of the relevant UN structures of the situation in al-Hol, greatly underestimating the scale of the humanitarian disaster in the camp.
We draw the attention of the world organization that today, despite the numerous promises of the American side, not a single refugee problem has been solved. At present, there are about 72,000 people finding themselves in appalling conditions in the al-Hol camp with 91 per cent of whom women and children, while up to 65 per cent of the total population of the camp are minors under the age of 12 years.
Most of them still do not have normal housing, people huddled together in self-made tents. Domestic waste disposal has not been organized yet. Such living conditions, given the onset of heat, persistent food shortages and quality drinking water, lead to outbreaks of infectious diseases. At the same time, the refugees are deprived of the necessary medical care, there are no qualified personnel in the hospitals.
Crime is rampant in al-Hol, various groups of refugees are in conflict with each other, and there are regular clashes with the guards. The camp administration and its American supervisors fail to take control of the situation and to ensure order and security in the camp.
We believe that the only possible solution to the problem of Rukban and al-Hol camps is the organization of the earliest return of their population to their homes and the closure of these camps. On the part of the Syrian authorities, everything is ready for this, only the goodwill of the American side is required.
However, the United States and its allies, instead of real help in restoring peaceful life in the republic, continue the campaign to discredit the legitimate authority in Syria. For this purpose, they involved various non-governmental organizations, replicating materials with groundless accusations of the Syrian leadership in the massive violation of the refugee rights, as well as in deliberately opposing to the humanitarian efforts of Western countries.
Thus, the United States and its allies hypocritically try to find any excuse to justify their passivity and unwillingness to help the people of Syria in dire need.
In addition, in order to disrupt the process of returning Syrian citizens to their homeland, US-controlled non-governmental organizations are seeking to discredit the leadership of countries neighbouring to Syria, accusing them of allegedly inhumanly forcing refugees to return to their homes.
We urge the American leadership and its allies to stop hampering the Russian-Syrian initiative on repatriation of refugees and begin real work to render assistance to the Syrian people. First of all, it is necessary to lift the economic sanctions applicable to Syria and to establish a constructive dialogue with the Syrian government.
We draw the attention of the international community that the presence of foreign armed forces on the territory of Syria without the consent of the Syrian authorities is illegal, prolongs the conflict and worsens the situation in the Republic. It is necessary to consolidate efforts on the political settlement of the crisis and create favourable conditions for early and voluntary repatriation of Syrian refugees and IDPs to the former places of residence.
Head of Russian Joint Coordination Committee on Repatriation of Syrian Refugees - Head of National Centre for State Defence Control of the Russian Federation
Head of Syrian Joint Coordination Committee on Repatriation of Syrian Refugees - Local Administration Minister of the Syrian Arab Republic