Joint Statement by Joint Coordination Committees of the Russian Federation and the Syrian Arab Republic on the problems of the repatriation of the Syrian refugees and IDPs
Russian and Syrian Joint Coordination Committees continue to actively conduct large-scale activities to return Syrian citizens to their homeland and create decent living conditions on the territory of the republic. Through the combined efforts of the Syrian and Russian sides, today they have returned to their native places 2,244,663 Syrians.
At the same time, the Syrian authorities pay special attention to the restoration of critical social infrastructure and the development of the economy in the country. New multifunctional service centers for citizens are being opened, which provide everyone with a wide range of legal, financial and advisory services, as well as accept all types of social payments.
The effectiveness of the measures taken by the Syrian government is also evidenced by the data of the relevant United Nations structures, according to which the majority of Syrian refugees who are in neighboring countries with Syria would like to return to their homeland.
In the meantime, according to international humanitarian organizations, in the states of the Middle East region, a sharp deterioration in the living conditions of Syrian refugees is recorded due to the coronavirus pandemic and the general aggravation of the socio-economic situation. According to them, a significant number of refugees in 2020-2021, lost their jobs and livelihoods, which increase the risk of their radicalization and involvement in extremist activities, and poor sanitary and hygienic conditions in tent camps, contribute to the spread of various diseases among refugees.
Despite the current situation, Syrian citizens continue to delay their return home. First of all, this is due to the active resistance of the United States and its allies, who are conducting an unprecedented information and propaganda campaign to discredit the Syrian authorities and intimidate Syrians who want to return to their homeland.
While it is in the territories occupied by US troops, in the areas of At-Tanf and east of Efrat, that all the fundamental norms of international law are violated and the needs of the civilian population living in refugee camps are ignored. The situation of civilians in the Rukban and Al-Khol camps is close to a humanitarian crisis and is being exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Guided solely by humanitarian considerations, the Syrian Government, together with the Russian Center for Reconciliation, has made every effort to ensure a dignified, safe and voluntary exit of the civilian population from the Rukban refugee camp. As part of the plan developed jointly with the UN to withdraw the remaining residents, the Syrian authorities have fulfilled all their obligations.
Furthermore, the Syrian side has provided an additional temporary accommodation center for internally displaced persons who wants to leave the camp Duer, where all the necessary quarantine measures are organized to ensure the safe return of citizens to their homes.
At the same time, the US leadership, instead of helping Syrian citizens living in appalling conditions returning to their chosen places of residence, puts forward another demand for the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Rukban refugee camp. We remind that according to the experience of past convoys, all humanitarian aid is seized by pro-American gangs and used by their militants to control civilians. In the meantime, the guarantees of the American side for the withdrawal of those wishing to leave the camp are not fulfilled.
It is precisely these approaches to the disbanding of the camp that allows the United States to continue to delay this process. This is done to ensure that the command of the US troops in the At-Tanf zone organizes a conveyor for training extremists used to maintain hotbeds of tension in Syria.
Our concern is the position of the representatives of the United Nations, who know that the humanitarian aid intended for the residents of Rukban will fall into the hands of the militants and still insist on its implementation. We emphasize that the responsibility for everything that happens in the US-occupied Al-Tanf zone, including the comprehensive provision and medical care for the residents of the Rukban camp, lies solely on the American side.
We are convinced that only the final disbandment and evacuation of the Rukban residents to their chosen places of residence will guarantee their return to normal life. We call on the international community to exert influence on the American side that is destabilizing the situation in Syria, including in the issues of lifting the illegally imposed anti-Syrian sanctions and liberating the occupied territories of a sovereign state.
Head of the Russian Joint Coordination Committee on Repatriation of Syrian Refugees - Head of National Center for the State Defense Control of the Russian Federation
Head of the Syrian Joint Coordination Committee on Repatriation of Syrian Refugees - Minister of Local Administration and Environment of the Syrian Arab Republic