U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesperson
For Immediate Release
Statement by Morgan Ortagus, Spokesperson
April 25, 2019
The United States is appalled by the Assad regime’s decision to reject the UN request to deliver a convoy of urgently needed humanitarian aid from Damascus to the Rukban encampment. We remain deeply concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Rukban, especially as the Holy Month of Ramadan is about to begin. We urge the Assad regime and Russia to permit deliveries of international humanitarian assistance from Damascus and stop blocking commercial routes to the encampment immediately in order avert further suffering.
The United States condemns any attempt to prevent the UN from delivering humanitarian aid. Most of the residents in the Rukban encampment are women and children. Some have not eaten a meal for days because of the lack of UN access and basic food supplies. It is critical that the UN have unhindered and consistent humanitarian access to those located within the encampment and all vulnerable populations throughout Syria in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2449.
Any process to facilitate departures from Rukban should ensure that movements are safe, voluntary, and dignified and coordinated with UN agencies. Such decisions cannot be made safely and voluntarily in conditions of severe deprivation. The United States has not and does not impede the movement of IDPs wishing to leave the encampment.
The United States is the largest single donor for the Syria response, providing more than $9.5 billion in humanitarian assistance for those affected by the conflict inside Syria and throughout the region since the start of the crisis.
We remain committed to getting life-saving support to all Syrians affected by conflict.