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SETF Executive Director and Global Justice President Visit Rukban IDP Camp for the First Time Since Assad’s Siege Began

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PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 25, 2023

WASHINGTON D.C.– On Monday, September 25, 2023, the Executive Director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF), Mouaz Moustafa, accompanied by the President of Global Justice, Dr. Haytham AlBizem, arrived at the besieged Rukban camp for displaced persons on Syria’s southern border with Iraq and Jordan. This momentous visit marks the first time an outside civilian medical professional and two heads of international non-governmental organizations (NGO), one of whom is a specialist doctor, have been able to access the camp since the devastating siege began in 2014.

This trip was a part of SETF’s ongoing “Operation Syrian Oasis” a humanitarian initiative launched in June 2023 in collaboration with the US Military which successfully ended an eight-year siege on 8,000 civilians in the Rukban IDP camp, imposed by the Assad regime, Russia, and Iran. 

“SETF has tirelessly supported Rukban Camp residents besieged by the Assad regime and allies. I am privileged to have been able to travel to Rukban camp to meet with the residents directly and the U.S. servicemen and women at Tanf Garrison who have helped us deliver aid through the Denton Program. During my stay in Rukban, I am staying with residents inside their poorly built tents and experiencing first-hand the impact of the siege on their living conditions,” said Mouaz Moustafa, SETF executive director.  

Dr. Haytham AlBizem, president of Global Justice, said that his trip represents a major challenge to the will of those who are implementing this siege on thousands of residents in the Rukban camp, and he stressed that he will continue to provide support in partnership with SETF until this unjust siege on the camp is ended.

Since June, SETF has completed multiple rounds of aid deliveries, consisting of seeds, irrigation tools, milk formula, prenational vitamins, educational materials, and more. Notably, today’s visit and the continued deliveries of aid to the camp were made possible through the Denton Humanitarian Aid Program, which allowed SETF to utilize available cargo space on U.S. military planes for the transfer of substantial aid quantities.

Operation Syrian Oasis is fully funded by SETF’s generous individual donors, and we remain the sole humanitarian organization providing sustained aid to 8,000 residents in Rukban. We are grateful to our partner at Global Justice for their continuous contribution to our aid operations in Rukban. The two organizations have previously cooperated to print and ship more than 11,000 textbooks to break the educational siege imposed on thousands of children in Rukban.As Assad’s unlawful humanitarian blockade persists, SETF is dedicated to breaking the siege and ensuring that camp residents receive the assistance and support they need for a hopeful future.

 

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Maria Cure, Director of Communications
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