The Russian military has yet again called upon its US counterparts operating in Syria to come together and discuss the situation at the Rukban refugee camp in the US-occupied Al-Tanf area. Washington has ignored previous calls.
“We call upon the commanders of American troops stationed in the Al-Tanf zone to come on 2 April 2019 to the Dzhleb checkpoint to take part in a meeting to plan concrete measures to disband the Rukban camp,” the head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria, Major General Viktor Kupchishin, said on Saturday.
The Russian military and the Syrian government have already set up a humanitarian corridor for the safe exit of civilians from the area, opened a mobile checkpoint at Dzhleb, and prepared buses to ferry the refugees to temporary shelters. The government promises safety to the civilians and will help them restore any lost papers they might need, the general said.
The US military was invited to talk about the infamous Rukban camp on March 26, but they ignored the request. They also blocked Russian and Syrian diplomatic and military officials from entering the 55km zone around Al-Tanf that they occupy.
Rukban camp has been the shelter to more than 40,000 Syrians since it was opened in 2014. According to a survey released by the UN in February, the overwhelming majority of the camp’s residents – nine out of 10 – actually want to return home. The US military, however, has previously disrupted the delivery of humanitarian aid to Rukban and prevented buses sent by Damascus and guarded by Russian military police from picking up Syrians from the camp.