As more facts began to unfold, Western media did not pick up much of the latest developments on the story of the RukbanRegufee camp, the plight of which is solely the responsibility of the United States.
Earlier, the Russian Ministry of Defense published satellite images showing a fresh cemetery near the camp containing some 300 new graves.
The Syrian and Russian interdepartmental coordination staff issued a joint statement holding the US responsible for the plight of the refugees and urging the US side to allow the refugees leave the camp voluntarily without any further restrictions.
Al-Rukban Camp is located within a de-confliction zone near the Syrian-Jordanian borders close to the US-occupied al-Tanf base.
Hence the responsibility for the humanitarian situation in the camp is fully on the US side. The US forces are illegally stationed in this border enclave allegedly to fight the terror group DAESH (ISIS), but they also lend support to a plethora of other outlawed terrorist groups they still prefer to brand them as “moderate”.
These groups continue to prevent the internally displaced refugees from leaving the camp and they still control the movement from and into the camp.
Over the past few days, the Russian news Agency TASS has punctually followed the developments of this story publishing the relevant Russian Defense ministry’s satellite images and the subsequent joint Syrian-Russian statement about the plight of the camp residents and the demand made to the US to set free the forcibly-held residents.
On March 6, TASS quoted Major General ViktoKupchishin, Chief of the Russian Centre for Reconciliation of Conflicting Sides in Syria, as saying: “On March 6, the interdepartmental coordination centers of the Russian Federation and the Syrian Arab Republic came forward with a joint statement, which urges the US to switch from populism to practical steps, which are to release illegally held residents of the Rukban camp and to ensure their right to leave freely for permanent residence places and to guarantee a safe passage of humanitarian motor convoys through illegally seized area of Al-Tanf.”
It also noted that The Rukban camp is located inside the Al-Tanf security zone, which is home to the US military base.
Militants from opposition groups block access to that area.
The Iranian “Press TV” also provided an extensive coverage of the story, highlighting the statement made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that the United States seems to be in need of the Rukban refugee camp, where thousands of internally displaced people are stranded, in order to justify its illegitimate military presence there.
It quoted the Minister as saying: “The fact that people are not allowed to leave and are held hostage leads to the unpleasant idea that the US needs this camp to continue justifying its illegitimate presence there.
US forces prevent the refugees from exiting the camp, while militants are forcibly holding them inside, demanding large sums of money in US dollars to let them out.”
“At the same time, the UN data show that more than 35,000 Syrians want to return to the territory controlled by the Syrian government, including 28,000 to the province of Homs, 2,800 to the province of Dayr al-Zawr, 1,600 to the provinces of Rif Damashq and Hama and 1,200 to the province of Aleppo,” it added.
The Chinese Xinhua News Agency also run the story and published excerpts of the joint Syrian-Russian statement. Under the title, Russia, Syria urge US to release refugees from Rukban camp, Xinhua quoted the statement as saying: “Syrians, who were forced to leave their homes, fleeing from the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group have actually been in a military blockade on the border with Jordan and Syria already for 1,769 days.
The U.S. side, which illegally occupies the 55-km al-Tanf zone, where the Rukban camp is located, continues blocking measures taken by the Syrian government to evacuate the displaced to their places of permanent residence.”
“According to a survey conducted by the United Nations and the Syrian Red Crescent Society, 95 percent of about 40,000 Syrians held in Rukban wish to leave the camp as soon as possible, the statement added.
The US weekly, the Newsweek, was among the few western MSM outlets that tried to “refute” the Syrian and Russian accusations.
But the task was difficult, as the US position on this issue is indefensible, especially following the explicit statement made by the US National Security Adviser John Bolton.
Shortly after the US President Trump announced the intention to pullout all US troops from Syria and as reports suggested that the gradual pullout was underway, White House Security Adviser John Bolton said in January that the Al-Tanf garrison was still very strategically important for the US in connection with “our” determination that “Iran does not achieve this arc of control stretching from Iran through Iraq into Lebanon and into Syria.”
With such an explicit statement, Bolton clearly revealed that the true reason behind the US military presence was never to fight ISIS, but rather has been and still is for political and geopolitical reasons, that are now known to everyone.
Newsweek, however, noted that the withdrawal of US troops was an issue of debate inside the US political establishment and that the hardline officials have rejected the idea of full withdrawal.
“though the Al-Tanf site was officially part of the fight against ISIS, which has been largely defeated, hardline U.S. officials have touted its position in a separate campaign to curb Iranian influence in the region,” it said.
According to other media sources, out of the 2000 troops, the US would keep about 200 troops in the north and 200 troops in the south.