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Water, food drying up in Rukban refugee camp: Russia, Syria

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)
A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab Red Cross (SARC) on November 5, 2018, shows displaced people receiving vaccinations at the Rukban refugee camp for displaced Syrians along Syria's border with Jordan.

The Russian and Syrian coordination centers on returning refugees have warned about severe water shortages in a refugee camp near Syria’s frontier with Jordan amid attempts by US-backed terrorists to disrupt water deliveries to the civilians stranded there.

“Behind the camp’s wall are reservoirs with a volume of 210 cubic meters, into which water brought from Jordan is filled and then distributed among the camp’s residents,” the centers said in a joint statement released by the Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

“Simple calculations show that each resident can receive no more than 5 liters of water per day. That is not only barely enough for cooking and drinking, but also insufficient for washing and doing laundry, which leads to unsanitary conditions,” it added.

The statement added that members of the US-backed Jaysh Maghawir al-Thawra (Revolutionary Commando Army) terrorist group disrupt water deliveries to the camp, criminally using it as a bargaining chip for blackmailing and profiteering purposes.

The ministry then pointed to the persistent shortage of food, warm clothing and medication in addition to the poor sanitary and epidemiological situation in Rukban camp, noting that refugees there suffer from exhaustion, acute intestinal diseases and infections.

Nearly 700 new graves discovered outside Rukban camp

Separately, Russian satellite images have shown three more cemeteries near the Rukban refugee camp with hundreds of graves.

Russian and Syrian coordination centers on returning refugees said the cemeteries were located in close proximity to water points, which are a source of spreading infectious diseases.

“Nearly 700 graves have been found in the unmarked burial sites,” the centers pointed out.

Last week, Russia’s Defense Ministry said Russian satellites had found a cemetery with 300 graves immediately outside Rukban camp’s fence.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on March 6 that the United States 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.”

The United Nations 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.

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