US has de-facto occupied part of Syria & hinders humanitarian aid – Moscow
All limitations on the access of humanitarian convoys to the Rukban refugee camp in the Al-Tanf area of Syria – which is de-facto occupied by US forces – must be lifted, Russia’s Foreign Ministry has said.
Moscow has firmly emphasized “the need to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Syria in the implementation of humanitarian deliveries and the observance of international humanitarian law.”
Rukban camp is located in the 55-kilometer area around Al-Tanf that is “de-facto occupied by the US armed forces,” with access to the district denied to the country’s lawful authorities, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“The training of militants from illegal Syrian armed groups continues at the US strongholds in the area,” it added.
The Russian Defense Ministry earlier accused the US of using Al-Tanf to train militants, including those from the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group, saying that a number of attacks on government troops originated from the area. The Americans also attacked Syrian forces and their allies outside the occupied area, claiming they posed a threat to the US contingent.
Meanwhile an estimated 60,000 Syrian refugees currently remain in poor condition at the Rukban camp, lacking food and medical supplies. While Moscow welcomed a one-off humanitarian aid delivery to the camp, which came through Jordan on Monday, the ministry noted that the volume and contents of the cargo delivered remains unknown. Meanwhile the ‘border’ unilaterally declared by the US remains “hermetically closed for UN humanitarian convoys that try to get into Rukban from the Syrian territory,” the statement read.
“We demand the lifting of all restrictions on the access of convoys with food and medicines, increasing the transparency of humanitarian actions,” the ministry said. It also pointed out the US military “bears full responsibility” for the situation in the Al-Tanf area under its control.
The American claim that their troops are present in Syria in order to fight terrorism are “unconvincing and can’t withstand any criticism” and can in no way justify the attack on Syrian sovereignty, the ministry added.