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Rukban refugee camp in Syria must be closed down - Russian ambassador in US

Anatoly Antonov dismissed the claims the Syrian authorities were allegedly unprepared to accommodate the refugees and provide the necessary conditions for them

WASHINGTON, March 8. /TASS/. The problem of the refugee camp Rukban in Syria can be resolved only in one way - the camp must be closed down and its residents urgently evacuated, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, told the media when asked for a comment on the state of affairs inside and around the camp in southern Syria.

"The problem of Rukban needs urgent solution. It can be resolved only by means of disbanding it and evacuating all residents. All conditions for that are in place," Antonov said.

He dismissed the claims the Syrian authorities were allegedly unprepared to accommodate the refugees and provide the necessary conditions for them.

Rukban emerged on the Syrian-Jordanian border in 2014 after Amman closed the border due to security and economic concerns. The area is under the control of illegal armed groups. The humanitarian situation in the camp is grave.

On March 5, the Russian Defense Ministry said that satellites had spotted a cemetery with 300 new graves near Rukban. In fact, the camp has lost its status to have been turned into a "reservation where hostages are held by force." The Russian Defense Ministry said most of the shelters in the camp were unlivable in wintertime, the sanitary conditions were desperate and food and other goods could be purchased at improvised outdoor bazaars controlled by the militants.