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09.06.2020 (10:00)

JCH of the Russian Federation and SAR made a joint statement "on the problems of returning Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes in the context of the spread of coronavirus infection"

The Joint Coordination Headquarters of Russia and Syria (JCH of the Russian Federation and SAR) issued a joint statement "on the problems of returning Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes in the conditions of the spread of coronavirus infection". It states as follows.

"The Joint Coordination Headquarters of Russia and Syria 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 a set of anti-epidemic measures in the country as part of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Thanks to the measures taken in this direction, the effectiveness of which was recognized by the World Health Organization, only 141 cases of COVID-19 were detected in areas controlled by the Syrian government, and 58 people recovered. At the same time, the quarantine restrictions imposed in connection with the coronavirus pandemic have objectively slowed the return of Syrian citizens to their homes, but their number continues to grow and currently stands at 2,144,395 people.

While the Syrian government is making every effort to restore peaceful life and ensure the safety of citizens, the United States continues to destabilize the situation in the country, preventing the return of citizens to their homes and the provision of humanitarian assistance through the UN in the territories controlled by the Syrian government. At the same time, a critical situation persists in the territories occupied by US troops, in the area of et-Tanf and in the area east to Euphrates, which is aggravated by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Of particular concern are the unresolved humanitarian problems in the "Rukban" refugee camp, where US-controlled armed groups continue to forcibly detain Syrian civilians who are forced to eke out a miserable existence due to the political ambitions of the US side. The United States, which occupies the 55-km zone of et-Tanf, has not yet taken any anti-epidemic measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection in the camp. The lack of qualified medical care, personal protective equipment, testing and barrier control in a high-density environment of refugees living in complete unsanitary conditions can lead to a sharp outbreak of COVID-19 disease. The indifference of the US side is surprising, as it is the most affected country, which ranks first in terms of morbidity and mortality in the world, fully understands the danger of this infection for humans and at the same time calmly observes at what is happening in "Rukban".

We believe that in the current circumstances, the only solution to the problem of the "Rukban" refugee camp is to disband it and completely eliminate it. The Syrian government has organized all necessary quarantine measures at the reception point in the al-Waha area to ensure the safe return of citizens to their homes.

We note the general deterioration of the humanitarian situation in all areas not under the control of the Syrian government, accompanied by an aggravation of social contradictions and increased discontent among citizens with the dominance of gangs on the background of the inability of the opposition authorities to solve the problems of the population, despite large-scale international assistance.

A serious problem remains the desire of the United States and its allies, under any pretext, to avoid interacting with the Syrian authorities on humanitarian issues, which persistently promote the extension of existing and opening of new cross-border channels, allegedly necessary for the implementation of humanitarian supplies. In fact, most of the cargo delivered falls into the hands of the militants under their control.

Once again, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that the mechanism for cross-border humanitarian assistance to Syrians was initially temporary in order to deliver goods to areas of Syria that were not controlled by the government. Given the current reality, humanitarian assistance to Syria must be carried out in strict coordination with the legitimate government, as stipulated by international humanitarian law.

We demand that the US side stop exerting a destabilizing influence on the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic and strictly observe international law and the principles of the United Nations. We are convinced that the further occupation of the territories of Syria by the United States and its allies increases the suffering of civilians and delays the return of peaceful life in the country."

The head of the Joint Coordination Headquarters of the Russian Federation for the return of refugees to the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic - the head of the National Centre for State Defence Control of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mizintsev.

The head of the Joint Coordination Headquarters of Syria for the return of refugees to the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic - the Minister of Municipal Administration and Ecology of the Syrian Arab Republic, Hussein Makhlouf.

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