GENEVA, February 18. /TASS/. The United Nations is not involved in the opening of humanitarian corridors for internally displaced persons leaving Syria’s Rukban refugee camp, Jens Laerke, Spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said on Monday.
"The UN is not involved in the opening of humanitarian corridors from Rukban. "The initiative has been announced by Syrian and Russian authorities and will reportedly start on February 19 at 9am," he noted when asked by a TASS correspondent to comment on Russia and Syria’s appeal to the UN to join that humanitarian operation.
Laerke stressed that the UN "reiterates its call that any return or relocation movement of the Rukban population upholds key principles, with any return or relocation being voluntary, safe, dignified and well-informed and in line with minimum protection standards."
Two humanitarian corridors for refugees leaving Syria’s Rukban refugee camp will be opened in the morning on February 19, according to a joint statement by Russian and Syrian coordination centers posted on the Russian Defense Ministry’s website on Saturday.
Round-the-clock operation of the checkpoints, which are expected to accommodate internally displaced individuals leaving the Rukban camp, will begin at 09:00 Moscow time on Tuesday. Moscow and Damascus earlier called on the UN and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to join the humanitarian operation and urged the American partners to show good will for the benefit of Syria’s population.
Rukban is set up in the al-Tanf safe zone where a US military base is located. Militants from opposition groups block the perimeter of the safe zone. According to the UN, about 40,000 people, mainly women and children, are currently in Rukban.