al-Rukban camp, siege, hunger and death in the desert
The United Nations said 4,303 people had left the camp for displaced persons from 23rd March to 21st April, leaving some 36,000 displaced persons in the camp. The displaced people left to shelters established in Deir Ba’alba, Quysair and Bayada in Homs countryside.
The population of the camp reached about 100,000 people in 2017, reaching about 80 thousand people at the beginning of 2018.
The camp is located in the triangle area on the Syrian-Jordanian-Iraqi border, in the south-eastern part of Syria, within the Syrian side of the demilitarized border area between Jordan and Syria.
The camp was established in mid-2012 to be a transit point for the entry of IDPs into Jordan, then officially transformed into a camp in late 2014, as well as a transit area until October 2015.
The camp is located about 12 km south of the Tanf border crossing with Iraq. It is located about 25 km from the military base of the International Alliance. It is located within the 55 km area of al-Tanf, which is designated by the international coalition forces as an area under its protection. The regime’s forces and allies are banned from entering through temporary understandings with Russia.
The camp entered in June 2018 under partial siege, with Jordan announcing the closure of the port with the camp following the attack by ISIS on a Jordanian military site, killing seven Jordanian soldiers and injuring 13 others.
The camp was strangled in October of the same year after the Syrian regime closed all the access points to the camp, especially the military checkpoint in the Triangle area, known as the Domair roadblock, about 70 km from the camp.
In September 2018, the United Nations Children’s and Motherhood Foundation (UNICEF) medical point was completely closed to patients and subsequently reopened with a significant reduction in services provided.
The siege prevented the entry of medical assistance into the camp, preventing the small medical centres set up by volunteers from obtaining the basic necessities of their work, and making the medical care reach a non-existent level. Consequently, the mortality rate increased significantly.
In addition, the camp suffers from a lack of infrastructure such as electricity, drinking water and foodstuffs that are at high prices if available.