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Defying Assad-Russian-Iranian Siege, SETF Launches Historic ‘Syrian Oasis’ Aid Operation

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PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
06/20/2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF) is thrilled to announce the first aid delivery to the Rukban internally displaced persons (IDP) camp as part of “Operation Syrian Oasis,” bringing an end to an agonizing eight-year-long siege imposed by the Assad regime, Russia and Iran, and confirming SETF’s continuous commitment to providing relief for the much-deserving camp residents.

Near the Jordanian-Iraqi border, about 8,000 displaced civilians remain in the clutches of a suffocating siege on Rukban surrounded by Assad forces and their Russian and Iranian allies, where civilians have sought safety in the 55-km deconfliction zone surrounding the US military base, al-Tanf Garrison. Unjustly accused of being “terrorists” by the Syrian regime, these women, children, and men have endured abysmal living conditions and severe deprivation of basic necessities due to the blockade that has barred any aid from reaching them. Marking a significant turning point in the siege, SETF is now the first organization to deliver aid directly to the camp despite the international community’s failure to respond to their pleas.

The initial delivery includes seeds and irrigation tools, which will enable the residents to cultivate their own sustenance, as well as school supplies for the over 1,000 children in the camp who have been deprived of any education. SETF is preparing additional deliveries of baby formula, prenatal vitamins, school books, and food items, already scheduled to be delivered in the coming weeks.

A school principal in Rukban camp said: “Breaking the siege means survival. It means there is hope for life in this place in the middle of the desert and the midst of the imposed siege.”

The milestone accomplishment would not be possible without the unwavering dedication and tireless efforts of SETF’s team and generous donors who continuously support its 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 funded effort by assisting with the transportation of aid to Rukban IDP Camp on a space-available basis through the Denton Program on U.S. military aircraft already traveling to al-Tanf Garrison as part of 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).

Abu Mohammad, SETF’s Rukban Field Director, expressed gratitude saying: “There is no place for us to go except to be returned to regime-held areas where the regime will kill us. But now, only through the people of America, are we able to survive, have education, and hope again in Rukban.

For press inquiries, please contact:
Maria Cure, Director of Communications
[email protected] |+1 (202) 948-5398