Militants are still preventing refugees and their families from leaving Syria’s Rukban camp, head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Center for Syrian Reconciliation Lt. Gen. Sergei Solomatin said on Monday.
“Illegal armed groups operating in the area [spanning] 55 kilometers [34 miles] are preventing the civilians from leaving the Rukban camp”, Solomatin told a briefing.
According to earlier statements, two checkpoints were opened last Tuesday to facilitate the refugees’ withdrawal from the Rukban camp, which lies in the area controlled by the United States. Soldiers from the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria and crews of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are working at the checkpoints, and are prepared to provide assistance for those who want to leave the camp.
The Russian Defense Ministry’s Center for Syrian Reconciliation has called on the United States to put pressure on the leadership of opposition groups and prevent them from disrupting the evacuation of civilians from the camp.
Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said refugees from the Rukban camp should have long been evacuated, but the United States and the militants under its control forbade them to leave. The US Department of State spokesman Robert Palladino has replied that the United States had not prevented people who live in the camp from leaving the facility and called on Russia to help facilitate deliveries of humanitarian aid.
The situation in the Rukban camp, which is situated within the US-controlled zone surrounding its military base in At-Tanf, has become increasingly dire as refugees residing there have not been regularly receiving sufficient amounts of humanitarian aid.
Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry’s Center for Syrian Reconciliation also reported Monday that a number of ceasefire violations had been registered within the Idlib de-escalation zone in past 24 hours. According to Solomatin, more than 55,200 Syrians who evaded from military service were granted amnesty by Damascus. He added that as of Sunday, 224,424 Syrian refugees had returned home.
Syria has been in a state of civil war since 2011, with the government forces fighting against numerous opposition groups and militant and terrorist organizations. Russia, along with Turkey and Iran, is a guarantor of the ceasefire regime in Syria. Moscow has also been providing humanitarian aid to residents of the crisis-torn country.
Source: News Agencies