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07.11.2019 (10:00)

Russian and Syrian Joint Coordination Committee named the main reasons hampering the evacuation of refugees from Rukban

JOINT STATEMENT

by Joint Coordination Committee of the Russian Federation and the Syrian Arab Republic

"On the problems hampering the evacuation of refugees from the Rukban refugee camp"

November 7, 2019

The Syrian government, with the support of the Russian Federation, continues to work actively to provide comprehensive assistance to Syrian citizens in returning to their homeland, restoring peaceful life and the economy in the country.

Up to the date, more than 1,993,191 Syrian citizens have already returned to their homes, of whom more than 1 304,913 internally displaced persons and more than 688,278 refugees from the territories of foreign states.
On the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic, 914 educational and 212 medical institutions were restored, five automobile bridges and 1,102 km of roads were repaired, 1021,8 km of power lines were laid; 180 water supply facilities, 268 bakeries, 746 power substations, 14,439 industrial enterprises were commissioned.
These indicators provide conclusive evidence of the effectiveness of measures taken by the Syrian leadership in creating the necessary conditions for a voluntary, dignified and the safe return of their citizens to their homeland.
The most important aspect of the Syrian government’s efforts to restore peaceful life is the launch of an inclusive political process, which was possible cause the long and painstaking diplomatic work within the framework of the Astana Process.
We welcome the start of the work of the Syrian Constitutional Committee under the auspices of the UN in Geneva. We are sure that its participants will find mutually acceptable compromises. For the further positive development of the political process, we believe that we will increase the provision of humanitarian assistance to all Syrians in all parts of Syria, as well as provide comprehensive assistance to the return of refugees and displaced persons to their places of residence.
Despite the recognition by all authorized international organizations of the conformity of the conditions created by the Syrian government with the humanitarian standards of the United Nations, there are again unfounded calls for additional inspections of the shelters for returning Syrians. The Syrian government continues to expand these centers and supply them with everything necessary. The conditions in them continue to improve.
We scrutinize the situation in the northeast of the Syria. Due to unprecedented agreements between Russia and Turkey the joint patrolling of the border areas have begun. It is extremely important that we managed to prevent the escape of terrorists from places of detention. The situation in the region has stabilized, peace is restoring and economic activity has intensified.
However, not all countries are interested in contributing to the benefit of the Syrian people. The US and its allies continue the financial and economic strangulation of the country.
Due to that, sanctions have been imposed against key sectors of the Syrian economy, and the supply of fuel, medicines and medical equipment, as well as materials for the restoration of basic infrastructure, is difficult.
In southern Syria, the United States continues to hold the illegally occupied 55-kilometer zone around Al-Tanf and prevent the dissolution of the Rukban refugee camp.
Thanks to the measures taken by Syria and Russia, it was possible to save half the population of this death camp, which was forced to live in miserable and inhuman conditions. The Russia and Syria provided the United Nations with the opportunity to get involved in the removal of the remaining residents of al-Rukban in order to solve the problem.
However, despite the complete readiness of the Russian and the Syrian parties for the implementation of the third phase of the UN operational plan, providing for the simultaneous evacuation up to 2500 people, on September 29, 2019, only 336 Syrian citizens were able to leave al-Rukban camp. The main reason for the actual disruption of the UN Plan is the failure of the American party to fulfill its obligations. Contrary to numerous US promises to influence on controlled militants, leaders of illegal armed groups sabotaged early warning about the planned action, they limited the stay of the humanitarian convoy, engaged in extortion and directly threatened families wishing to leave the camp.
Moreover, with the direct support of American troops, representatives of the Norwegian Refugee Fund, on the eve of the UN operation in Rukban, held an information campaign aimed in convincing the residents of the camp to refuse from returning to territory controlled by the Syrian government allegedly due to the threat of criminal prosecution by the Syrian authorities. 
Currently, due to the US unwillingness to give security guarantees in the occupied territory in the area of ??Al-Tanf, the implementation of the UN Plan has been suspended. At the same time, the US side is again imposing an opinion on the need for regular delivery of humanitarian supplies to al-Rukban camp. In other words, it all comes down to the desire of the United States to provide, at the expense of the United Nations, food and necessities of controlled militants.
In this regard especially cynical is the statement by James Jeffrey, Special Representative of the US State Department for Syria. In the September interview to the US media about his intention to achieve systematic supplies of humanitarian aid to the camp, supposedly to reduce the "suffering" of its civilians, despite the fact that a significant part of the delivered in September and October 2019, humanitarian aid once again fell into the hands of militants.
We stress out the US party that the shift in emphasis on the provision of humanitarian aid to the residents of the camp instead of their evacuation only aggravates the severity of the situation of ordinary Syrians. We believe that the only way to save them is through the final dissolution of the camp.
We can see the indifference in the attitude of the US leadership towards the fate of ordinary Syrians, the desire of Americans to satisfy their own political interests, which have nothing to do with restoring peace in Syria. It is the illegal presence of the United States and its allies on the territory of a sovereign state that opposes the restoration of control of the legitimate government over the entire territory of the country is the main destabilizing factor on the path to the revival of Syria.
We urge the entire international community to exert pressure on the United States, which continues to violate the international law by its illegal presence in the Syria, and to oblige them to withdraw completely troops from the sovereign Syrian Arab Republic.

Head of the Joint Coordination Headquarters of the Russian Federation on returning of refugees to the Syrian Arab Republic - Chief of the National Defense Control Center of the Russian Federation

M. Mizintsev

Head of the Joint Coordination Headquarters of Syria on returning of refugees to the Syrian Arab Republic - Minister of Municipal Administration and Ecology of the Syrian Arab Republic

H. Mahlouf

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