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Blame game over aid leaves Syrian refugees stranded in desert ‘death’ camp (Public Radio International)

March 11, 2019

From the article:

Stranded in the remote deserts of Syria near the Jordanian border lies Rukban Camp — an unofficial tent city of over 40,000 displaced people who fled from war in Syria. What began as an informal settlement in 2014 evolved over time into a complex camp with no running water, regular food supplies or access to medical care. 

“I can't explain to you how bad the situation is,” Rukban resident Muhammad A’kil, 27, told The World over a smuggled satellite phone that connects to the internet for about one hour every few days. A’kil, originally from Homs, Syria, has been in limbo at the camp for four years.  

“Don’t call it Rukban Camp; it's a death camp,” A’kil said. 


Rukban stands out as another bitter example of how delivering humanitarian aid can often get hampered by politics. 

“When aid becomes a proxy for a political struggle, it's just much, much harder to get it to the communities who need it, because one side or the other will see it as a threat,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, former director of foreign disaster assistance programs for USAID in Syria during the Obama administration.


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Photo of Jeremy Konyndyk
Senior Policy Fellow