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Friday 12 April 2019

REPORT: Three executed in Russian forcible transfer of displaced people from Rukban camp

According to a report received from a source in Rukban camp, three young people who were amongst those transferred from the camp in a Russian-organised displacement have been executed by Assad regime forces.

The three people executed were in a group taken to a school in the Baba Amr neighbourhood of Homs. Women in the group were released and men were detained. The three executed were killed in the school.

Syria Solidarity UK is unable to verify this report, but the source has been reliable in the past.

UPDATE: See also reporting by EA WorldView: “Everyone, even women and children, witnessed it.”


The UN has not been granted access to places of arrival for people transferred from Rukban camp. (Via.)

The Baba Amr neighbourhood has been largely abandoned since it was besieged and extensively shelled in 2012. Baba Amr is where the journalists Marie Colvin and RĂ©mi Ochlik were killed by Assad regime shelling on 22 February 2012. Baba Amr was visited by the UN Special Envoy Geir O Pedersen on 19 March of this year.

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent is taking part in the Russian-organised displacement of people from Rukban camp. According to the SARC today, 2,254 have so far been taken from Rukban camp to makeshift shelters in Homs.

Lebanese news website Al-Modon has reported that the operation to transfer people from the camp removed more than 1,500 by the end of the first week of this month, all transported by way of Russian military police to shelter centers in the Deir Baalba district in Homs city, despite a prior agreement that they would be returned to their cities and towns in the eastern Homs countryside.

Another report from Al-Modon stated that some returning displaced people were transported to the Mohamed Osman Shelter Center for Temporary Residence in the Homs countryside, which is used as a center to collect displaced people. “Status settlements” were carried out in the Palmyra desert branch inside the al-Tayfour airbase in the al-Oras area in Homs.


Rukban is a camp of internally displaced Syrians, numbering between 40,000 and 50,000, who fled towards Jordan and were blocked by Jordan from crossing the border.

Rukban camp is next to Tanf, a Coalition base. The base is currently held by US forces and supports the Coalition’s Syrian client militia forces in the Tanf zone.

Rukban camp is inside a 55 kilometre radius zone around Tanf base controlled by Coalition forces, including the Royal Air Force.

Russia and the Assad regime are trying to forcibly displace people from Rukban camp by blocking access for food and medical aid.

Most people in the camp are afraid to go to regime-held areas, fearing conscription, imprisonment, torture and killing.

Jordan’s government also wants Rukban camp cleared in order to avoid any further responsibility for the people living there.

Jordan has been blocking most cross-border humanitarian access for years.

The US-UK Coalition as the occupying force has legal duties to civilians in Tanf zone under Geneva Convention IV, including a duty to bring in aid when necessary under Article 55 of Geneva Convention IV.

The US and UK are not fulfilling this legal duty, or even acknowledging it.

Because the Russian-organised transfer of people from the camp is being forced by the blocking of humanitarian aid, this is a forcible transfer of population.

Geneva Convention IV Article 49 prohibits forcible transfers.

Forcible transfer of population is a crime against humanity under Article 7 (d) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

The United States and United Kingdom are therefore in breach of Article 55 of Geneva Convention IV, and in consequence complicit in Russia’s breach of Article 49 of Geneva Convention IV.

The United Kingdom and Jordan are both State Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and therefore also complicit in a crime against humanity under the Rome Statute.

The UK and US and Jordan must now urgently deliver aid to Rukban’s civilians by any means necessary.

Read more: PDF briefing on Rukban camp