Joint Statement by Joint Coordination Committee of the Russian Federation and the Syrian Arab Republic on the problems of the repatriation of the Syrian refugees and IDPs in the COVID-19 environment February 01, 2021
Joint Coordination Committees of Russia and the Syria continue their active efforts to provide comprehensive assistance to Syrian citizens in their repatriation and rebuilding of peaceful life in their country.
Thus, the Syrian government carries out set of measures to assure state guarantees for Syrians in security, health and legal regulation aspects.
Moreover, the activity to determine their status, to keep property rights, to restore necessary documents, to provide the delay from service in the Army and in providing assistance in determining peoples’ fates who went missing is ongoing. In order to reduce the burden on social services and reduce paperwork waiting time, a citizen service center opened in Damascus, providing 19 types of public services, including the issue of civil status and absence of criminal record certificates.
All these manifestations of the State's concern for its citizens have changed the situation in the country for the best and to date have made it possible for 2 215 028 Syrians to return to the places of their chosen residence. The Syrian authorities pay particular attention to the prompt social adaptation and employment of all returned citizens.
The decontamination of public places and city streets is carried out on a permanent basis as a part of measures to counter the spread of COVID-19 and stabilize the sanitary and epidemiological situation in the country. In addition, specialized medical centers are being opened to increase the scale of citizens coronavirus testing.
At the same time, the USA and its allies cynically seek to use the Syrian refugee problem for their political purposes, taking measures to prevent their repatriation, thus breaking theirs international humanitarian obligations. The USA and its allies engage the controlled media and Internet resources in delivering information and exercising psychological pressure, consistently promoting deliberately false theories about the grave situation in Syria, the high level of unemployment in the country, the lack of employment and education opportunities.
In addition, the US sanctions "Caesar's law" and other sanctions, which violate all statutes of international law, is causing huge damage to Syria's economy, which primarily leads to the impoverishment of ordinary citizens and forces refugees that were recently ready to return home to change their minds.
At the same time, the situation remains disastrous, aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.-occupied territories, in particular in the area of Al-Tanf and in Trans-Eurates.
The most difficult situation is in the largest refugee camp, Al-Hol, where about 65 000 people from 53 countries currently live. 94% of the camp's population is women and children, most of them are family members of former ISIS fighters. The difficult living conditions, deteriorating sanitary and epidemiological situation, as well as the growing discontent of refugees and internally displaced persons along with the uncertainty of their fate and lack of possibilities to leave the camp lead to an increase in criminality. In particular, since the beginning of the year, there have been 17 violent deaths of camp residents, which is the highest monthly death toll in the camp's entire existence. There has also been a 30 % increase in cases of infliction of serious injuries, theft, robbery and escape attempts.
Further non-implementation of effective measures by the USA and its allies, in order to improve conditions for internally displaced persons and organized crime prevention in the camp will contribute to the spread of extremist ideology and radicalization of its inhabitants. Meanwhile, the most important problem is the reluctance of most states to repatriate their citizens from the Al-Hol refugee camp. We believe that, it is the duty of all state to repatriate its citizens, who find themselves in a difficult life situation, especially innocent children, provided that the Syrian government has taken all necessary efforts to assist all other countries to repatriate refugees and is ready to resume the cooperation with these countries, if there would be no blackmailing from the fighters and states that support them.
The Russian Federation is constantly taking care of this problem and repatriates its underage citizens to their families on the regular basis. Currently, with the participation of the Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights, A. Kuznetsova, 148 children who survived the horrors of war have been taken back to Russia.
The situation in the Rukban camp for internally displaced persons in the US-occupied Al-Tanf zone also remains critical. However, no effective steps are being taken by the United States to improve the situation, and the fighters under their control and with their support have imposed a ban on citizens wishing to leave the camp.
The United Nations position on the Rukban camp is a source of concern, as the plan to evacuate its remaining residents to the places of their choice has been drafted about a year ago, but has so far not been implemented under false pretenses. Meanwhile, the Syrian government are ready to receive their citizens and provide decent conditions for them, ensuring their safety and social support.
We are convinced that Syrian Arab Republic is making all efforts to improve lives of its citizens in all areas of activity, but these efforts shall only be viable after the leaving of the US occupation forces from the sovereign Syrian State territories, and thus, putting an end to the looting of Syria's natural resources, the transferring of those lands to the legitimate Government, the canceling of the illegal politicized sanctions strangling the country's economy and with the efforts of the entire international community on humanitarian assistance to rebuild Syria.
Head of the Russian Joint Coordination Committee on Repatriation of Syrian Refugees - Head of National Center for the State Defense Control of the Russian Federation
Head of the Syrian Joint Coordination Committee on Repatriation of Syrian Refugees - Minister of Local Administration and Environment of the Syrian Arab Republic