Russia demands an end to US “illegal occupation” of southern Syria

Russia has denounced that the “illegal” presence of the US in southern Syria has hindered the departure of refugees trapped in the Al-Rukban camp.

“We are ready to examine any measure that would contribute to the departure of the refugees from the Al-Rukban camp, but I think that the simplest and most effective solution is the cessation of the illegal occupation of this territory by the US,” said Russian Chancellor Sergey Lavrov.

The camp, which is home to some 50 000 displaced persons, is located within the so-called de-escalation zone’ which the US has unilaterally created near Al-Tanf, at the south-eastern end of the Syrian province of Homs, where Washington maintains a military base in occupied territory, without Damascus’ permission to do so.

Appearing before the press this Sunday with his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi, in Amman (Jordan’s capital), Lavrov has also argued that US troops present in Al-Tanf are cooperating with terrorist factions to prevent the departure of Syrian refugees.

The head of Russian diplomacy has thus questioned Washington’s willingness to discuss the dismantling of this camp, even though he claims otherwise. “I have the feeling that they are not doing it sincerely. Al-Rukban is an excuse to maintain its illegal presence in southern Syria,” added Lavrov.

Russian soldiers and diplomats have repeatedly denounced the fact that US troops and armed groups in the region prevent the Syrian government from organizing a safe corridor and delivering humanitarian supplies to the residents of the Al-Rukban camp.

It had also warned that the refugees in the camp included camouflaged members of various terrorist groups.

For their part, the Syrian authorities accuse American forces of supporting terrorists in the area in order to prolong the war in the Arab country.

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