Wednesday, 19 January 2022 | 18:00 WIB

US Ambition of Defeating IS Causes Humanitarian Crisis in Syria Refugee Camp

The al-Hawl refugee camp in Syria (stjsy)

JAKARTA, NETRALNEWS.COM - Russia says the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is supported by a US-led global coalition to defeat the Islamic State (IS) formerly known as ISIS, has caused a humanitarian crisis in the al-Hawl refugee camp in Hasakah Province, Syria.

Russian Ambassador to Indonesia Lyudmila Vorobieva stated that the camp was already too full to accomodate 73,000 refugees mostly from Baghuz and a number of areas where the SDF continued the attack to eradicate the remnants of IS members in the region.

Apart from Baghuz, as many as 45 percent of the refugees who inhabit the al-Hawl camp came from Mosul, a city in Iraq that was freed from IS occupation in 2017 by the US-led anti-IS coalition.

"Let me remind you that at that time, air strikes by the US and its allies resulted in many Iraqi civilian casualties and damage to public infrastructure in the city," Ambassador Lyudmila said in an explanation to the press in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Furthermore, Lyudmila explained that residents who had fled Mosul to the al-Hawl camp could not return to Iraq because the SDF forces controlling the camp did not let them out.

"This unconstructive position supported by the US has caused great concern. It seems that US-controlled groups, both in al-Hawl and in the Rukban, deliberately detained refugees from returning to their permanent homes," Lyudmila said.

In addition, based on UN data, refugees living in the al-Hawl camp lacked water and electricity supplies, basic sanitation facilities, and medical staff and medicines. This situation has resulted in the spread of infectious diseases and worsened sanitation.

Unfortunately, according to Lyudmila, the international community could not respond to the suffering of the refugees in al-Hawl.

The UN estimates that the al-Hawl camp needs US $ 27 million in emergency relief funds, while currently only around US $ 4 million can be collected.

Ambassador Lyudmila highlighted the lack of Western attention to the situation in the al-Hawl camp, although recently a conference in Brussels attended by international donors pledged US $ 7 million in humanitarian aid commitments.

"I want to emphasize that we are talking about aid to a camp located in the territory controlled by the US and its allies, with the involvement of the UN mechanism. This is a big question why generous donors are short of funds to save refugees from the sad situation," she said.

To reporters, Lyudmila also denied Western media reports stating that Russian military attacks had provoked a humanitarian crisis in Idlib, Syria.

According to her, the attack was precisely targeted at destroying the rebel group Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham. The group continued to attack Syrian government forces and resulted in civilian casualties, as reported by Antara, Wednesday (04/10/2019).