1 Mar 2019 14:00

Russian, Syrian military to transport refugees from Rukban camp on Friday

MOSCOW. March 1 (Interfax) -Russia and Syria will conduct an unprecedented humanitarian operation on Friday to transport refugees from the Rukban camp, head of the Russian National Defense Control Center Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev said.

"Today we will have to carry out an unprecedented humanitarian operation," he said.

Mizintsev asked chief of the Russian center for reconciliation of the opposing sides in Syria Sergei Solomatin to "work together with Syrian colleagues to ensure the orderly setting out of vehicle convoys' from all designated populated localities."

"Each convoy should be accompanied by doctors-nurse teams, and all measures should be taken to maintain security on all the itineraries," he said.

Mizintsev also instructed the head of the interdepartmental coordination center's duty shift to brief him hourly on the start and progress of the vehicle convoys from 2:00 p.m. Moscow time.

In addressing head of Syria's interdepartmental coordination center Mutez Kattan, Mizintsev said that the Russian center for reconciliation "is taking every measure to inform Syrian citizens currently present in the U.S.-occupied Al Tanf zone."

"However, the UN claims that internally displaced persons have scarce information about the readiness of local administrations to accept citizens arriving in their districts. Providing temporarily displaced persons with detailed information about conditions for their upcoming return and also giving them overwhelming guarantees of security, both while en route to places where they have chosen to life, as well as upon their arrival is crucial to resolving the problem of this camp," he said.

Mizintsev asked Kattan to "use every available channel to convey this information to Syrian citizens, above all, residents of Rukban, and also the international community."

Solomatin, for his part, said text messages and loudspeakers will be used to inform Rukban camp residents about the opportunity to be transported back home and also about the situation on the ground. "Residents of the Rukban camp will be informed about the organization of humanitarian convoys and also meeting and transport arrangements to their chosen places of residence with the help of SMS messages and loudspeakers," he said.

Refugees will exit the area via the Jleb checkpoint.