US-sponsored Takfiri militants have collected a significant proportion of humanitarian aid destined for thousands of displaced Syrians stranded in a camp near the Jordanian border, the Russian and Syrian coordination centers on returning refugees have warned.
“Given the negative experience of the first humanitarian convoy as well as absence of any objective information about the targeted aid to refugees from the second humanitarian convoy, there are reasons to say that the major part of humanitarian cargo was received by the US-controlled armed groups, not by Syrians living in the [Rukban refugee] camp,” the centers said in a statement released on Saturday.
The statement further noted that Russia would assist Syria in opening two humanitarian corridors for those who want to leave the camp.
“In the current situation, having once again made sure that it is not possible to achieve any constructive position on the part of American partners … the Syrian government, with the assistance of the Russian Federation, decided to open two humanitarian corridors in residential areas, Jleb and Jabal al-Ghurab, on the border of the 55-kilometer zone, occupied by the United States, where the corresponding checkpoints will be equipped for the voluntary, unimpeded and safe exit of Syrian refugees to places of their choice of residence,” it pointed out.
Russia says the US and militants are holding people in Rukban refugee hostage.
“We call on the American command and leaders of illegal militant groups in the al-Tanf region to out an end to the forcible keeping of women and children, mostly affected by cold, illness and malnutrition in the camp. All of them will be given necessary assistance,” said Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov on Friday as a humanitarian convoy of the United Nations and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) delivered aid, including medical supplies and basic commodities, to Rukban.
The Friday convoy reportedly consisted of more than 100 trucks.
Konashenkov added that Russia and Syria would jointly establish a temporary housing area for refugees from the camp.
“To save the refugees of the Rukban camp, the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria together with the Syrian government will set up temporary accommodation centers equipped with heaters and provided with hot meals, other essentials and medical personnel … All refugees will be transported unrestrainedly and safely to areas controlled by the Syrian government,” he pointed out.
The Friday humanitarian aid convoy was the third for the refugee camp. The second convoy, including medical supplies and basic commodities, was delivered to Rukban, on February 7. The first such convoy entered Rukban on November 3.
The UN says about 45,000 people, mostly women and children, are trapped inside the Rukban refugee camp, where conditions are desperate.
On January 12, a Syrian mother attempted to torch herself and her children to death in the camp after she failed to find food for her family for three straight days.
Other refugees in the camp put out the fire, which had damaged the tent, and evacuated the woman and her children to hospital.
The woman and her infant were seriously hurt while the two other children suffered minor injuries.
This is while Geneva-based international aid agency Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has put the number of refugees living there at some 60,000.
In October, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said people in Rukban have been without access to food and humanitarian aid for several months, highlighting that the tough situation was further complicated with a closed border by Jordan.
In the same month, Amman re-opened the Nasib border crossing with Syria for the first time in three years, as the crisis in Syria is gradually winding down thanks to the Syrian army’s decisive gains against terrorists.
Jordan had closed its border with Syria following an attack on its soldiers by Daesh Takfiri terrorists back in 2016.
The area where Rukban is located is controlled by the former US-backed Shuhada al-Qaryatayn militant group. The extremists were supposed to evacuate to northern Syria in accordance with a Russian-backed deal, but refused to do so.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.