Russian MoD Blames US for Cancelled UN-Red Cross Aid Delivery to Rukban Camp
A UN-Red Cross mission to bring aid to displaced people in the Rukban camp in south Syria was cancelled over lack of security guarantees in the US-controlled area, the Russian military said Saturday.
“The inability of the US side to live up to its commitment to provide security in the 55-kilometer [34-mile] area around its base in At Tanf stopped the convoy from going. UN officials said the delivery had been cancelled over lack of security guarantees,” Lt. Gen. Vladimir Savchenko said in a bulletin.
Savchenko said the area around At Tanf was swarming with “a large number of armed and uncontrolled militants who can stage any manner of provocation,” making shipments through the zone to the camp on the border with Jordan “extremely dangerous” for aid workers.
Ahmad Qazem, the head of the Syrian Network for Human Rights, told Sputnik last week that 14 people had died in the camp because of a dire humanitarian situation. According to the rights activists, the situation in the camp had been complicated by the closure of a nearby border crossing.
The Rukban refugee camp, which now hosts about 50,000-60,000 people, is located in Syria’s At Tanf district (Homs province) near the Jordanian border, next to a US military base where Syrian opposition forces are being trained. Moscow and Damascus, on one side, and Washington on the other accuse each other of hindering the delivery of UN humanitarian assistance to the area.
The Syrian authorities have repeatedly stated that the territory around At Tanf occupied by the US-led Western coalition was a haven for radical groups, including for militants of the Daesh terrorist group, which organized a large-scale attack on the settlements of the Suwayda province from the side of At Tanf in September.