PRISONERS OF RUKBAN REFUGEE CAMP

Rukban refugee camp is one of the most famous and horrible places in Syria. People, who wanted to find a shelter from the war and islamists’ crimes, became prisoners. They call this place a “slow death”. We contacted a human rights activist, who revealed shocking details of refugees’ life in deplorable conditions there. Our colleague wished to remain anonymous, because he fears intimidation from the local bandits ruling the camp.

Nowadays approximately 14 thousand Syrians are officially detained in the Rukban camp, most of them are children and women. This place is formally under UN and US control, but it is almost impossible to find out their exact number, because nobody registers refugees in fact. Actually camp authorities are its managers in name only. Real rulers and hosts are different kinds of bandits and extremists and the most powerful group is “Magaweir al Thawra”, or “Revolution commandos” in English.

“Commandos” who guard refugees’ food from refugees

This group of local criminals and foreign mercenaries was formed by US specops troops. “Commandos” train on the American military base al Tanf located nearby from the camp. It is the US intention that this gang will conduct special operations against Syrian army and form new rebel armed groups.

Unfortunately something went wrong and “Magaweir al Thawra” decided to fight not loyalists’ forces but jailed in Rukban civilians. Now bandits control distribution of the all resources among refugees and Rukban is literally run by them.

Humanitarian disaster and horrible crime rate there are caused primarily by the “Commandos” gang. Here is the way of the humanitarian aid distribution in Rukban:
– “Magaweir al Thawra” confiscates for the further sale out of Rukban the most valuable food, clothing and other basic necessities immediately after arrival to the camp;
– less valuable items are distributed among the most loyal refugees, their friends and etc;
– refugees get what is left… It must be mentioned that manpower of “Commandos” is around 300 fighters, and the camp population is 14 thousand children, women and men!

Parents have to take humiliating work for bandits to provide their children with food necessary for survival. Slavery and prostitution are common. Local “shadow administration” is not afraid of publicity and reaction of the Human Rights organizations, which are turning a blind eye to the suffering of Rukban. They pretend they don’t understand the real cause of the disaster.

“Magaweir al Thawra” decided two weeks ago to reduce daily ration of refugees. Now it officially contains only a bottle of water and a loaf of bread for the family. Refugees are in despair, but they are too frightened to resist humiliation. Those who expressed their dissatisfaction have been threatened and tortured. The most active fighters for justice disappeared and nobody has seen them. People have made an obvious choice – a silver hope that they and their families will be able to survive this nightmare.

Education and gender equality issues

The lack of access to the basic necessities is not the only problem in Rukban.
Another critical issue there is local “education”. “Commandos” spread extremist ideology among Syrian kids and teenagers. They teach young men radical Islam in improvised schools in order to make them join someday terrorist groups and sacrifice their life.
As for girls they are not allowed to attend any classes even like mentioned above. They should better not to live their tents without any male relative to avoid slut-shaming, harassment and even violence.

     When will Rukban nightmare end?

Our colleague believes that there are two answers for this question.

The first one. Refugees’ sufferings will be over, when Syria washes away its blood and tears, restores a peaceful life, reconstructs houses, schools, hospitals, theaters, malls. Someday it will be done anyway, but nobody knows when.

We can not rely on it and just wait, we must act. That is why we’ve got another answer. Everybody who cares about victims of Rukban must increase public awareness of this horrible case in order to help people of this camp and many other all over the world. That is why everybody must know that #RukbanSuffers

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