The Russian military has once again called on the US troops in Syria to discuss the situation in the Rukban camp, where some 40,000 refugees are kept in dire conditions. The US side is directly responsible for the critical state of the settlement under its occupation and has ignored earlier appeals from Moscow and Damascus to disband the camp.
The US command has previously delayed the delivery of humanitarian aid to Rukban and refused to allow, let alone facilitate, the refugees’ passage out of the camp. Russia and Syria, meanwhile, have jointly set up humanitarian corridors and a mobile checkpoint for that purpose.
Russia has routinely accused the US of manufacturing the humanitarian crisis in Rukban since 2017. However, a report delivered jointly by the UN, WHO, and the Red Cross states that the situation in the camp has been dire since its spontaneous creation in 2014, three years before the US-led coalition opened a military base in the area.
Moscow's claim that the refugees are trapped in Rukban due to US "occupation" is false. Leaving the area to the south became impossible with the closure of the Syria-Jordan border in 2016. The current US stance is to encourage, but not compel, the refugees to remain inside the camp. A spokesperson for refugees in Rukban camp has denied allegations by Russia that the US detains them in the area and cited the "Russian siege" as the cause of their plight, confirming earlier reports on the issue.