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Russia, Syria Accuse U.S. Of Abusing COVID-19 Threat To Arm Militants In Al-Rukban Camp

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Russia, Syria Accuse U.S. Of Abusing COVID-19 Threat To Arm Militants In Al-Rukban Camp

The Rukban camp, sandwiched between Jordan, Syria borders and Iraq, Feb. 14, 2017. Raad Adayleh | AP

The U.S. is plotting to ship equipment to Syrian militants under the pretext of providing medical aid to refugees in the al-Rukban camp amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia and Syria warned in a statement on March 28.

“The US side seeks to make use of coronavirus spread and tries to exert pressure on the UN to pass shipments and equipment to the terrorists under the pretext of medical and humanitarian aid to the besieged persons in the camp,” the Russian and Syrian coordination committees on the Return of Syrian Refugees said in a joint statement.

The al-Rukban camp, which hosts around 40,000 refugees, is located within the 55 km U.S.-occupied zone in southeast Syria, right on the border with Jordan.

The Russian and Syrian coordination committees held the U.S. responsible for the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the camp, stressing that all needed procedures to evacuate the besieged people in the camp were taken by Moscow and Damascus.

Many of the camp’s residents were evacuated to government-held areas over the last year. However, tens of thousands are still trapped inside the camp, which is controlled by militants linked to U.S. forces in the nearby al-Tanaf Base.

The attempt to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to restore support for militants in the al-Rukban Camp is an example of how the U.S. have been trying to take advantage of the camp’s crisis, instead of ending it.

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