16:08 GMT21 January 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Washington has refused to provide security guarantees for humanitarian convoy movements within the 55-kilometer (34-mile) zone around the US military base in Syria's At-Tanf, the head of the Russian Defense Ministry's Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria, Col. Gen. Viktor Kupchishin said.

    Kupchishin noted that on Friday, Russia and Syria sent humanitarian bus convoys to the Rukban camp, located within the US-controlled territory in At-Tanf, to evacuate refugees. He stressed that the Syrian government guaranteed security for the internally-displaced persons living in Rukban.

    "The US side refuses to provide security guarantees for humanitarian convoys' movement within the 55-kilometer zone around the US base in At-Tanf", Kupchishin said.

    READ MORE: Daesh in Syria Defeated But Could Be Reinvigorated in Future — UN Special Envoy

    Earlier in the day, a spokesman for the US-led coalition, VR Col. Sean Ryan, told Sputnik that the coalition was not preventing the exit of refugees from the Rukban camp.

    "The coalition has never denied anyone regarding anything related to humanitarian efforts or the return of IDP’s [internally displaced persons], and the coalition mission is still the enduring defeat of ISIS[Daesh]", Ryan said.

    In January, the World Health Organization (WHO) described refugees residing in the camp, which houses around 40,000 displaced people,  as "trapped," adding that they live "in deplorable conditions". Limited water supply, bitterly cold weather and poorly-functioning health care facilities contribute to the rise of disease, including influenza, measles, tuberculosis and chronic respiratory diseases, WHO stated.

    READ MORE: US Forces in Eastern Syria Made 'Gold for Safe Passage' Deal With Daesh – Report

    In February, media reported — citing a UN survey — that most Syrian refugees from Rukban wanted to return to their homeland bur feared detention and forced military conscription, and among other issues sought information and guarantees on those matters.

    *Daesh (ISIS/ISIL/IS/the Islamic State) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia.


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    rukban camp, humanitarian convoy, security, Russian center for Syrian reconciliation, al-Tanf, Rukban, Syria, US
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