Russian and Syrian coordination Headquarters made a joint statement on the problems hindering the implementation of initiative on refugees and internally displaced persons return to places of their residence
Interagency Coordination Headquarters
of the Russian Federation and the Syrian Arab Republic
«On the problems hindering the implementation of the initiative
on refugees and internally displaced persons
return to places of their residence»
February 12, 2020
Russia and Syria interagency coordination headquarters continue an active work in order to provide comprehensive assistance to Syrian citizens in returning to their homeland and restoring peaceful life in the country. Undertaken in accordance with the United Nations Basic Principlesmeasures in this direction are yielding positive results.
Up to the date, 2,098,102 of Syrian citizens returned to their native places, 1,318,558 of them are internally displaced persons and 779,544 refugees from abroad.
The Syrian government continuously works to restore stability and security in the country. At the same time, along with positive results, there are problems in the matter of Syria revival.
The most difficult situation remains in the Idlib de-escalation zone, where there is a high probability of a humanitarian catastrophe in connection with the terrorist activities of the militants. In order to find solutions to the Idlib problem, the Syrian government, together with the Center for Reconciliation of warring parties, constantly works to develop new measures and mutually acceptable solutions to stabilize the situation. In the framework of this activity, the Syrian army established a ceasefire from January 9, 2020. A sufficient number of places have been prepared in the temporary accommodation centers of Hamah province due to numerous requests from citizens asking to return to their homes in the territory liberated from militants.
However, the intensification of the “Hayat Tahrir Ash-Sham” terrorist group and its allies actually thwarted the efforts of Russia and Syria in reducing tension in the area. More than 150 civilians died due to shelling of militants in January. Also with the aim of blocking the exit of Syrian citizens through humanitarian corridors organized by Russia and Syria, militants of illegal armed groups mined and blocked the roads leading to the “Al Khader” checkpoint in Aleppo province, “Abu Ed Duhour” in Idlib and “Habit” in Hamah provinces.
The Syrian army was forced to take actions to ensure the security of the government controlled territory in response to the constant terrorists’ provocations.
The Syrian army got a significant amount of equipment and ammunition left by illegal armed groups and weapons during terrorists’ retreat, including Western production, which indicates the continued support of the militants from abroad.
The presence of foreign military contingents in Syria without the consent of the Syrian government, which is illegal under the UN Charter and all international law, helps to prolong the conflict and worsen the situation in the republic. This problem does not allow consolidating efforts for a political settlement of the crisis in Syria and create the conditions for the safe return of internally displaced persons to places of pre-war residence.
Currently, the Syrian government is making every possible effort for the speedy return of ordinary people to normal life in the areas of the Idlib de-escalation zone exempted from terrorists. The joint efforts of the Syrian and Russian sides organized the supply of civilians with food, heating equipment and other necessities.
A significant destabilizing factor is a humanitarian situation in the largest camps of temporarily displaced persons located in illegally US-occupied territories of Syria. The United States creates a basis for fueling terrorist organizations in order to maintain instability in the country and region by supporting artificially inhuman conditions in refugee camps and preventing residents from returning to their homes.
A significant concern is the position of the United Nations regional structures, which so far have not yet begun to implement their own plan for evacuation remain residents of the Rukban camp, constantly postponing the dates under various pretexts. Last pretext was the necessity to verify frankly false information circulated by Western non-governmental organizations about allegedly detention by law enforcement department of ex-residents who left the camp in 2019.
Guided by the desire to end as soon as possible the suffering of their citizens in inhuman camp conditions, the Syrian government once again agreed on visit final settlement places of former Rukban residents by the UN. The opportunity to make sure in the absence of any problems with Security service through interviewing former camp residents were given to UN staff during that visit in January 2020.
We draw the attention of the United Nations on the necessity of wide dissemination the reliable information obtained from monitoring missions results that did not reveal any serious complaints.
We are sure that only detailed informing of the world community, as well as internally displaced persons remaining in the camp about the fate of the residents who had previously left its territory and a reasoned refutation of rumors in a special settlement will allow to advance in resolving the problems of the Rukban camp.
We urge the relevant UN structures to stop politicizing this situation, to seek formal and groundless reasons for delaying the operation to resettle the "Rukban" and finally fulfill the obligations of August 2019 to the entire international community and Syrian citizens. The obligations on withdrawal of the remaining camp population.
Head of the Interagency Coordination Headquarters of the Russian Federation on returning of refugees to the Syrian Arab Republic - Chief of the National Defense Control Center of the Russian Federation
Head of the Interagency Coordination Headquarters of Syria on returning of refugees to the Syrian Arab Republic - Minister of Municipal Administration and Ecology of the Syrian Arab Republic