Breaking the Siege
on Rukban

Operation Syrian Oasis

In June 2023, the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF) Launched the Historic ‘Syrian Oasis’ Aid Operation, Defying Assad-Russian Forces and Breaking the Eight-Year-Long Siege on the Camp

photo credit – Hesar Media

For the past eight years, the 8,000 refugees living in the Rukban internally displaced persons (IDP) camp have endured abysmal conditions. As a result of a blockade imposed by the Assad regime, and re-enforced by their Russian and Iranian allies, the camp’s residents have been severely deprived of food, medicine, clean water, education, and much more. In spite of the international community’s failure to respond to the camp resident’s pleas, we became the first organization to deliver aid directly to the camp for the first time in four years. Our initial delivery to Rukban marked a historic initiative and was a watershed moment, paving the way for further aid deliveries and humanitarian measures for the much-deserving residents of Rukban.

The photo: A children in Rukban is surrounded by flooded land after a rainstorm. Extreme weather is usual in the camp and causes many issues.

Since our initial aid delivery, we have made significant strides in improving the lives of Rukban’s residents. Through “Operation Syrian Oasis” we have successfully delivered:

  • Irrigation equipment, fertilizer & over 6,000 lbs of seeds (worth approx. $25,000)
  • 1,500 bottles of baby formula for 900 babies & 3,000 bottles of prenatal vitamins for 400 pregnant women (worth approx. $78,000)
  • 16,000 textbooks for all 1,200 students (worth approx. $166,000)
  • 1,800 food baskets (worth approx. $138,000)

Remaining Needed vs. Amount Sponsored

Global Justice organization donated 11,000 of the textbooks and began regular support to all teachers at the 8 schools in the camp.

What do the people in Rukban require?

In addition to our aid deliveries, with the direct assistance of Global Justice’s President, Dr. Haytham Albizem, we conducted the first medical assessment of Rubkan and treated over 60 camp residents who were in need of immediate medical assistance. However, the need for medical assistance is immediate and ongoing. We are currently recruiting doctors who can travel to Rukban and perform urgent and lifesaving treatments and operations.

SETF staff on the ground prepare to plow over 200,000 square meters of land and plant over 6,000 lbs of wheat seed. The seeds, which were provided by SETF and delivered to the area by the Syria Free Army, are expected to be ready to harvest this spring.

Together, We Can Continue to Provide Hope for Thousands of Refugees

Our presence in the area has been vital to the survival of Rukban’s residents. We are committed to providing humanitarian assistance to the camp and will continue to advocate for the safety, well-being, and human rights of the camp’s residents. But we cannot do this work without you.

The aid deliveries to Rukban are entirely funded by individual donors like yourself. Please consider donating to our Rukban fund today and be part of this historic humanitarian effort.

This milestone accomplishment would not be possible without the unwavering dedication and tireless efforts of our team and generous donors who continuously support our humanitarian operations, as well as the U.S. Department of Defense, who has extended its support through Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), to SETF’s led and and funded effort by assisting with the transportation of aid to Rukban IDP camp on a space-available basis through the Denton Program on the U.S. military aircraft already traveling to al-Tanf garrison as part of their ongoing operations.

The supplies are delivered by SETF to the Ayn al-Asad Airbase, an encampment of the Iraqi Armed Forces located in the Al Anbar Governorate and then to the al-Tanf garrison where SETF staff on the ground distributes the aid to the camp civilians.

For clarity, the transportation of aid provided by SETF is based on space availability and will not impact or divert resources from the Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR).

Children congregate in the camp after heavy rainfall. This type of weather, although not unusual, makes it difficult to move between neighborhoods and bottle drinkable water.