Residents of the Rukban camp conditions, southeast Syria, October 10, 2018 (Omar a-Shawi)
More than 50,000 displaced Syrians are at risk as the Assad regime continues the cut-off of a vital route to the Rukban camp in southeaast Syria, near the Jordan border.
The road to Rukban was shut for the 11th day on Monday, preventing truckloads of food, medicines, and supplies from entering the desert area.
Prices have soared, with the cost of items like flour and tomatoes doubling. Medical supplies are running short, with no replacement if they are exhausted.
The main UN-run medical center was closed for part of September, leaving only basic clinics to care for the sick, injured, and pregnant. The blockade has been compounded by Jordan, which is not allowing aid to cross the border that it closed in June 2016, following an Islamic State suicide bombing that killed several Jordanian personnel.
The last official aid delivery to Rukban was via Jordan in January. Medics in the area said at least 14 people, including two infants, have died in recent weeks because of a lack of medical care.
The displaced arrived in Rukban in 2015, following ISIS attacks on their home areas. For years, they have relied on an informal route with Bedouin traders bringing in food and medical supplies from regime territory.
While the regime has not given a reason for the cut-off, it may be trying to force the displaced to return to their local areas, despite fears of detention and forced conscription and uncertainty over the status of their property. Russia and the regime are also trying to force the closure of the nearby US base at al-Tanf.
A Jordanian Government source said on Sunday that Amman is “in discussions” with Russia over the “de-establishment” of Rukban, removing the residents.