Russia, Syria urge US to discuss evacuation of refugee camp

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MOSCOW (AP) — Russia and Syria have invited the U.S. to have a joint discussion on evacuating a refugee camp in southern Syria.

The Russian and Syrian refugee return coordination centers urged the U.S. to hold a meeting next week to allow some 40,000 people to leave the Rukban camp near the Jordanian border.

In Friday’s statement, they pointed to “catastrophic” conditions in the camp and the spread of diseases there in the absence of proper medical assistance.

The statement argued that the Syrian government has built facilities to help refugees’ return. It emphasized that Damascus has offered amnesty to former rebels and made provisions for refugees to claim property they left behind.

Russia long has pushed for Rukban’s evacuation, charging that U.S.-backed rebels were keeping people there against their will.

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