SYRIA: Democratic Autonomous Administration denies Russian and regime accusations of misuse of Al-Yarubiyah border crossing

NORTH AND EAST SYRIA – The Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA) of North and East Syria issued a public statement on Thursday denying the accusations of the Syrian regime and Russia that the DAA aims to reopen the Al-Yarubiyah (Tel Kujar) border crossing in order to transfer weapons to “Kurdish formations”.

Russia and the Syrian government in Damascus accused the DAA of using the Al-Yarubiyah border crossing to transport weapons, militants, and coronavirus infected people to neighboring countries in addition to operating smuggling and trade operations.

The DAA denied the claims, indicating that such accusations were politically motivated and served the agenda of Russia and the Syrian regime. The DAA statement accuses Russia of enforcing a blockade of North and East Syria to put political pressure on the DAA and force it into a one-sided agreement with the Syrian regime.

Russia effectively closed the crossing earlier in the year using its U.N. Security Council veto to block an extension of Al-Yarubiyah as an approved border crossing for humanitarian aid.

The Russian refusal to approve the crossing for humanitarian aid is now especially critical given the threat posed to the region by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The DAA confirmed that the crossing was used only for transferring humanitarian aid and U.S.-led international coalition assistance to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to fight the Islamic State (ISIS).

In the statement, the DAA called on all parties in Syria not to politicize humanitarian issues, especially given the ongoing efforts to avert a potential humanitarian catastrophe caused by the coronavirus.

The DAA stressed that reopening Al-Yarubiyah to provide humanitarian aid is imperative to its attempts to contain the coronavirus and considers all countries responsible for its closing to blame for any consequences the decision might have for the region’s millions of inhabitants.