The creation of quasi-state local bodies on the eastern bank of the Euphrates by the US can be an attempt to split the country and is in contrary to decisions of the UN Security Council, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters at a news conference on August 30 following meeting with his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem.
“While being strongly opposed to the global community’s involvement in efforts to create conditions for refugees’ return to Syria’s territory controlled by the government, our American counterparts, at the same time, are actively restoring infrastructure on the eastern bank of the Euphrates river and even create quasi-state local government bodies there,” Lavrov said, according to the news agency TASS. “This gives rise to concern, this is fraught with attempts to split Syria, which is totally unacceptable and is a blatant violation of Security Council decisions, which has repeatedly demanded respect for Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Lavrov also pointed out that the US has kept its military presence in southeastern Syria establishing a military base near the inhabited community of al-Tanf.
Earlier, the Russian side repeatedly raised questions about what was happening at this military base pointing to the movement of terrorists, including ISIS members, through that region.
On August 30, Syrian Interior Ministry Hasan Maruf revealed that the Damascus government is preparing a first organized transition of refugees from the Rukban refugee camp, near the al-Tanf base, to their places of previous residence.
“An important issue for us is the presence of Syrian citizens at the Rukban camp. Currently, we are planning the first organized transition of our citizens to the places of pre-war residence,” Maruf said.
He also adressed rumors spread among the refugees that the Syrian government would persecute these people.
“The rumors are baseless. They are a sign of prevocational activities of those opposing this peaceful initiative on returning the citizens to Syria,” he said.