Russia Accusing U.S. of Holding Tens of Thousands of Syrian Refugees Against Their Will

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Syrian refugees from the Rukban camp visit a nearby UN-operated medical clinic on the border with Jordan on March 1, 2017. (Credit: Khalil Mazraawi/AFP/Getty Images)

Syrian refugees from the Rukban camp visit a nearby UN-operated medical clinic on the border with Jordan on March 1, 2017. (Credit: Khalil Mazraawi/AFP/Getty Images)

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Russia’s Defense Ministry has accused the U.S. military of keeping tens of thousands of people in a refugee camp in southern Syria against their will.

The ministry said Tuesday that the U.S. military has prevented 35,000 Syrians from leaving the Rukban camp. It charged that the U.S.-affiliated rebels extort money from those who want to leave .

The ministry released satellite images of the camp, arguing that they prove that conditions in the camp are miserable.

Russia has repeatedly accused the U.S. of failing to provide proper living conditions in Rukban, home to about 40,000 people. Food and medicine deliveries to the camp have often failed due to poor security.

The Russian military said the Syrian government last week sent a convoy to evacuate the camp, but the U.S. refused to let it through.

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