By – Ahmad Salah – freelance Syrian journalis
Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria the issue of Syrian refugees and internally displacehas been the subject of countless articles and reports withinternational humanitarian organizations and countries involved in the Syrian conflict shifting responsibility for the plight of migrants.
The most notoriousexample of human suffering put againstpolitical games is the Rukban refugee camp located in eastern Syria inside the 55-km zone aroundAl-Tanf basecontrolled by the U.S.and its proxies.
According to official information, more than 50,000 people, mostly women and children, currently live in the camp. This is a huge number comparable to the population of a small town. The Syrian government, aware of the plight of people in Rukban, has repeatedly urgedWashington to open a humanitarian corridor so that everyone can safelyreturn home. However, all such proposals were ignored by the American side. U.S. also refuse to providethe camp with first aid items. Neighbouring Jordan is inactive, too, despite Rukban being the largestof dozens other temporary detention centres in Syria, where people eke out a meager existence.
At the same time, the problem is not only refugee camps. Syria has been at war for a decade. The country’s economy has suffered greatly over this period, and many cities have been practically grazed to the ground. Moreover, the global coronavirus epidemic didn’t spareSyria and drained the already weakenedeconomy evenmore. However, Damascus’ attemptsof post-war reconstructionand economic recoverywere underminedby multiple packagesof severesanctions imposed by the U.S. At the same time, U.S.-based human rights monitorsand humanitarian organizations continue to weep over the Syrian citizens’ misery.
The situation is the samefor those refugees who stay in camps abroad, especially in countries bordering onSyria, particularly Jordan and Turkey. Ankara has been using Syrian citizens as a leverage against theEuropean states in pursuit ofpolitical benefits for a long time. No one pays attention to the lives ofpeople who are used as a change coin in big politics. This is equally true for Rukban whererefugees are held in inhuman conditions andnot allowed to return to their homeland. In those rare exceptions that they are able to leave, refugees have topay large sumsof money that most of those living in camp are not able to come by.
It’s hard to predicthow long the Syrian conflict will go on and when– or if – the American military will leavethe Al-Tanf base. One thing can be said for sure: the kind of criminal inaction and disregard for humanitarian catastrophe witnessed in refugee camps isa humiliatingfailure of modern diplomacy and an unforgivable mistake for the international community. People shouldn’t be a tool in the games of politicians.
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