For the second time this month, U.S. forces in the al-Tanaf base in southeastern Syria prevented buses sent by the Damascus government from evacuating thousands of refugees from the al-Rukban camp.
“Despite the measures taken, the evacuation of refugees from the Rukban camp is actually blocked because of the American side, which does not allow buses to evacuate refugees and refuses to ensure the safe movement of humanitarian convoys inside the 55-kilometer zone around its base in al-Tanaf,” the Russian Center for the Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria said in an official statement on March 9.
The Russian center said that the Damascus government had taken all the necessary measures to ensure safe evacuation of the refugees through a secured route, which had been established earlier. However, the U.S. continued to block the route.
More than 45,000 displaced civilians are trapped in the al-Rukban camp. These civilians suffer from the shortage in water, food and the lack of proper medical care. A recent survey, which was conducted in cooperation with the the Red Crescent, showed that most of the civilians want to leave the camp.
Last week, the Damascus government sent a convoy to evacuate these civilians in cooperation with Russian Forces. However, U.S. forces prevented the convoy from entering the 55km de-escalation zone around the camp. A spokesman for the U.S. Department of State claimed that the Russian-sponsored initiatives to evacuated the civilians trapped in the camp does not meet “protection standards.”
Local observers believe that the U.S. wants to use these refugees as a tool to pressure the Damascus government and justify own illegal military presence in al-Tanaf.
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