Rukban camp
© AP Photo
The US Department of State on Monday called on Russia to help facilitate deliveries of humanitarian aid to the Rukban refugee camp in Syria.

"The United States has [...] called for many months for the Syrian regime [government headed by President Bashar Assad] to allow rapid, safe, and unhindered UN access to the Rukban encampment. The recent humanitarian convoy was a positive step, and we call upon Russia to help facilitate continued, regular humanitarian deliveries," US Department of State deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino said in a press statement.

Palladino praised the recent delivery of humanitarian aid to the Rukban camp by the United Nations and Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC).

"The delivery, complete with careful distribution to all groups and UN/SARC monitoring, ensured that aid reached all those who needed it. We urge that access for humanitarian assistance must continue to Rukban and to all areas in Syria where people are in need," Palladino said.

The deputy spokesperson pointed out that the United States was not preventing people who live in the Rukban camp from leaving the facility.

"The United States has long advocated and will continue to advocate for freedom of movement for internally displaced persons (IDPs). It has not impeded and will not impede the movement of any IDPs who wish to depart from the Rukban encampment. Nor will it force anyone to leave. The United States fully supports a process that is free from coercion and allows for safe, voluntary, and dignified departures for those wishing to leave Rukban," Palladino added.

On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted that the US and militants under its control had forbidden internally-displaced persons from leaving the Rukban camp.

On Saturday, the Russian and Syrian Joint Coordination Committees on repatriation of Syrian refugees said that US-sponsored militants were likely to gain the majority of goods delivered by the UN and SARC humanitarian convoy to the Rukban camp.

The situation in the Rukban camp, situated within a US-controlled zone surrounding its military base in At-Tanf, has become increasingly dire as refugees residing there have not been receiving sufficient amounts of humanitarian aid.