MOSCOW: Russia and Syria issued a joint statement on Wednesday calling on US forces to leave Syria and to allow people inside a refugee camp in the southeast of the country to be evacuated by Russian and Syrian forces.
The statement, released by Russia’s Ministry of Defence, said Russian and Syrian forces had prepared buses to relocate refugees at the camp in the Rubkan area and would guarantee them safe passage so they could start new lives.
“We also call on the United States, whose military units are on Syrian territory illegally, to leave the country,” the joint statement read.
Russia’s taskforce for the return of refugees said Wednesday they are preparing to arrange the evacuation from the camp on March 1 together with the Syrian government. Russia has blamed the United States of failing to provide adequate living conditions in the camp which is home to about 40,000 people. Food and medicine deliveries to the camp have often failed due to poor security.
Russian officials earlier this month set up temporary accommodation centers for refugees in the camp and encouraged its residents to leave while blaming the U.S. for trying to keep the people there against their will.
The United States said earlier this month it would leave about 400 US troops split between two different regions of Syria, a reversal by President Donald Trump that could pave the way for US allies to keep troops in Syria.