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Russia inquires about fate of humanitarian cargo delivered to Syria's Rukban camp

According to the Russian official, the majority of Syrians staying in the camp would like to return to their homes on territories now controlled by Damascus

GENEVA, February 27. /TASS/. Russia has requested the United Nations to provide information about the fate of humanitarian cargo, delivered to the Rukban camp for Syrian refugees, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin told TASS.

Vershinin, who is taking part in the fourh session of the UN Human Rights Council, met with UN emergency relief chief Mark Lowcock on the sidelines of the event.

"Recently, the second humanitarian cargo delivery to Rukban has taken place. We requested full information on how the mission proceeded, in what conditions the delivery has taken place, whether the aid has reached the intended recipients, whether there were cases of humanitarian cargo falling into wrong hands," he said.

In early February, Russian servicemen assisted the second humanitarian convoy to Rukban, organized by the UN and Syrian Arab Red Crescent to deliver 1,080 tonnes of food, medicines and daily essentials to Rukban. The refugee camp, which is now home to about 40,000 people, is located within the security zone surrounding the US al-Tanf military base, the perimeter of which is guarded by US-controlled armed opposition groups. Its members do not permit humanitarian aid from international organizations and the Syrian government into the camp.

According to the Russian official, the majority of Syrians staying in the camp would like to return to their homes on territories now controlled by Damascus.

"We believe that the United Staes, which illegally controls this plot of sovereign Syrian land, would ensure the goodwill withdrawal of displaced persons from Rukban to Syrian locations where they would like to settle," Vershinin continued. "So far, we don’t see this taking place. We would like to hope that US eventually understands this."

"Generally speaking, it is obvious that the problem of Rukban and the problem of restoring Syria’s sovereignty over this territory is a key to solving numerous issues," he added.

During his visit to Geneva, the Russian diplomat attended UN Human Rights Council discussions and the international donor conference on Yemen. He also had a number of bilateral meetings with UN officials.

"A major international event like a session of the Human Rights Council always provides an opportunity to talk to representatives of various agencies. We have had good conversations on human rights issues," the Russian diplomat said. "I would like to single out today’s meeting with UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock and also a meeting with Michelle Bachelet, who has recently assumed important duties of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights."

Vershinin also met with President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Peter Maurer to discuss the situation in Ukraine and "very painful conflicts in the Middle East, including the conflict in Yemen and Syria" and held a "very good working meeting" with UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen.