World in View: Prisoners of Rukban

From the March-April 2019 issue of News & Letters

In the Rukban camp along the Jordan/Syria border, at least 41,000 displaced Syrians, including women and children, are suffering the ravages of winter weather, hunger, lack of medicine, and the terror of being threatened by the forces of the genocidal Bashar al-Assad regime.

Many are from Homs, which was a center of the revolution. Their fate is being negotiated by the occupying U.S. and Russian forces. U.S. forces have a base only a few miles east of the camp.

A common desire is to have safe passage to join other Free Syrians in the north.

These people, displaced by both the Assad regime and ISIS, would be put in great jeopardy if they return to their home villages—as Russia is pressing for by claiming to open “humanitarian corridors” that might deliver them into the hands of the regime.

The refugees’ refusal to fall for this scheme is a revolutionary act. It is an insistence on survival. It is profoundly human. The reprisals visited upon those who remained in Daraa or East Ghouta demonstrate its wisdom.

—Gerry Emmett

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