Immediate Evacuation Is Only Option to Save Refugees in Rukban Camp: Reconciliation Center

MOSCOW- Immediate evacuation is the only option to save refugees at the Rukban camp from hunger and epidemics, Major General Viktor Kupchishin, chief of the Russian Center for reconciliation of the conflicting sides in Syria, told reporters on Wednesday.

"Due to the US inability to prevent the armed groups’ arbitrariness against refugees as well as due to impossibility by governmental and non-governmental agencies to provide humanitarian assistance on a systematic basis to inhabitants of the Rukban camp, evacuation remains the only option to save more than 40,000 people from the threat of hunger and epidemics," he said, according to Itar Tass.

 Besides, Kupchishin pointed out that terrorist groups continue to violate the ceasefire in the Idlib de-escalation zone, Tass said.

The Rukban camp is located in the Al-Tanf security zone, where the US military base is stationed. Militants from armed opposition groups have blocked access to the security zone. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Rukban camp is currently hosting about 40,000 people, mostly women and children.

Rukban camp has no official status because of US military base nearby — Russian general

On Tuesday, Kupchishin and that the Rukban camp has no official status because of the US Al-Tanf base located 55 kilometers away from it.

"Because of the presence of US military facilities and US-supported militants in the Al-Tanf area, the Rukban camp has not become a full-value site housing temporarily displaced persons, having an official status and supplied in accordance with standards of the UN and other international organizations," he told a briefing.

Because it has no official status and security guarantees, state and civic organizations cannot help the people in need, Kupchishin explained.

"The US is ignoring these circumstances, advancing different demands regarding terms of evacuation of civilians from the Rukban camp, but they themselves render no humanitarian assistance to the inhabitants of the camp," the general said.