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Russia warns of ‘catastrophe’ at Syrian refugee camp in US-controlled region

Russia has raised alarm at the “catastrophic” humanitarian situation at a refugee camp, situated in a  territory controlled by US-backed militants in northeastern Syria, saying the daily death toll has hit 20.

Major General Viktor Kupchishin, the head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Center for Syrian Reconciliation, said on Wednesday that the Syrians are living in “unbearable” conditions at the al-Hawl camp in Hasakah Province.

“According to a female refugee, who managed to flee the al-Hawl camp on the territory controlled by the US-led coalition, the humanitarian situation in the camp is catastrophic. Between 10 and 20 people die each day, including children,” he said.

Citing a woman who had managed to escape from the refugee camp, the Russian general said that seven children have lost their lives there in the past week due to the “lack of medicines, food and unbearable living conditions.”

“The total number of children who have died in al-Hawl camp has increased to 235,” he added.

Kupchishin further called on international organizations to take measures in order to alleviate the suffering of people residing at the refugee camp.

The shelter was initially supposed to take in over 10,000 refugees, but it has now grown to be one of the biggest camps east of the Euphrates River with more than 76,000 people living there.

Kupchishin also noted that Damascus has been offering resettlement schemes and temporary shelters to the displaced Syrians.

“The Syrian government offers security guarantees to temporarily displaced persons and a simplified procedure to restore their identity documents,” he said.

However, he added, the US-led coalition forces have failed to cooperate with Damascus in that regard.

Last month, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) sounded the alarm over the rapidly deteriorating situation at the al-Hawl camp.

During a visit to the camp, ICRC President Peter Maurer said he was “shocked” by the stories “of children and women dying in big numbers because of all the difficulties.”

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