Washington Needs Rukban Camp to Justify its Illegal Military Presence in Syria: Lavrov

KUWAIT CITY-  The United States needs the Rukban refugee camp to justify its illegitimate military presence in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on Wednesday at a joint news conference with Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Itar Tass reported.

"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," the minister noted.

"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 stressed.

 Lavrov stresses need for totally eliminating terrorism in Syria

In Abu Dhabi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov affirmed at a press conference with his UAE counterpart, the need for totally eliminating terrorism in Syria and restoring the Syrian state’s sovereignty over its entire territory.

 “Restoring and boosting security is impossible without settling crises and conflicts in the region through political and diplomatic means in light of the international law,” Lavrov said, according to SANA

He added that Astana process aims to solve the crisis in Syria through the restoration of Syria's security and sovereignty over its territories. It is a process that paved the way for a political process according to UNSC resolution No.2254.

Russian, Syrian coordination centers urge US to release refugees from Rukban camp

In the same context, Russian and Syrian coordination centers have urged the United States to set free the forcibly held residents of Rukban camp and allow them to return to their homes, Major General Viktor Kupchishin, chief of the Russian center for reconciliation of conflicting sides in Syria, told reporters on Wednesday, according to Tass.

"On March 6, the interdepartmental coordination centers of the Russian Federation and the Syrian Arab Republic came forward with a joint statement, which urges the US to switch from populism to practical steps, which are to release illegally held residents of the Rukban camp and to ensure their right to leave freely for permanent residence places and to guarantee a safe passage of humanitarian motor convoys through illegally seized area of Al-Tanf," he said.

The Rukban camp is located inside the Al-Tanf security zone, where a US military base was established. Armed groups block access to that area.

The Syrian government has stressed readiness to guarantee security and provide a simplified procedure of re-issuing IDs for refugees from the camp. A humanitarian corridor through the Djleb checkpoint, where bus convoys had been sent to, has begun operating to ensure temporarily displaced persons’ voluntary and unhampered return from Al-Tanf to their permanent residence places.

Nonetheless, according to the general, in spite of these measures, the US force continue blocking the refugees’ exit from Rukban camp, deny access to buses for refugees’ evacuation and refuse to ensure security for humanitarian convoys within the 55-kilometer zone around their base in Al-Tanf.