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Russia, Syria urge Jordan to admit refugees from Syria's Rukban camp

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file picture shows an overview of Syria’s Rukban refugee camp in a desolate area near the Jordanian and Iraqi frontier. (Photo by AP)

The Russian and Syrian coordination centers on returning refugees have urged Jordan to open its border to displaced Syrians, who have been stranded in a camp near the frontier with the country.

“Jordanian authorities, citing security issues and difficult economic situation in the country, refuse to open the border to let refugees into their territory. The refugees are left with the only way to salvation, that is the humanitarian corridor provided by the Syrian authorities,” the centers said in a joint statement published on Thursday.

They added, “We hope our Jordanian partners will further implement humanitarian initiatives on returning Syrian refugees and participate in resolving the Rukban camp issue, thus contribute to overall stabilization of the situation in the region – something Jordan is interested in.”

The centers then called on the United Nations to demand Washington’s contribution to the resolution of Rukban issue.

 “We call on … members of the world community… and above all the United Nations to take crucial steps aimed at solving the [Rukban] problem, which has lasted for years and claimed thousands of human lives, and to point out to the United States that places like Rukban camp are inadmissible in the modern world,” the joint statement pointed out.

‘Russia ready for dialogue on Rukban camp with all parties’

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a news briefing on Thursday that Moscow is ready to engage in unconditional dialogue on the Rukban camp with all interested parties, including the US.

“We are ready to continue unconditional dialogue on the Rukban camp with all the interested parties, including the United Nations, the United States and Jordan, without politicizing the humanitarian aspects of the issue,” she said.

On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the US needs the Rukban refugee camp in order to justify its illegitimate military presence in Syria.

“The fact that people are not allowed to leave [the camp] and are held hostage makes one suggest that the US needs this camp to continue justifying its illegitimate presence there,” Lavrov said at a joint press conference with Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid al-Hamad Al Sabah in Kuwait City.

He added, “This is in line with the US policy aimed at creating something like a quasi-state on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River. It does not want these territories to get back under the control of Syria’s legitimate authorities.”

“We will insist that these people are no longer held in the camp against their will,” Lavrov pointed out.

The remarks came only a day after Russia’s Defense Ministry said Russian satellites had found a cemetery with 300 graves immediately outside Rukban camp’s fence.

On February 28, a Syrian official held US military forces and their allied militants responsible for the humanitarian crisis affecting thousands of internally displaced people in Rukban.

“The responsibility for the humanitarian crisis of our people at Rukban camp falls solely on US occupation forces and their stooges, as they have been preventing civilians’ departure by means of force and threats. This is while safe corridors have been opened for those who are willing to leave the camp,” the unnamed official at the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates was quoted by official SANA news agency as saying.

The UN says about 45,000 people, mostly women and children, are trapped inside Rukban, where conditions are desperate. This is while Geneva-based international aid agency Doctors Without Borders has put the number there at some 60,000.

Last October, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said people in Rukban had 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.

Jordan closed its border with Syria following an attack on its soldiers by Daesh Takfiri terrorists back in 2016.

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