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Over 800,000 Syrians provided with food supplies from Russia

Today, in Moscow, Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev chaired another session of the Joint Coordination Centre of Russian Defence Ministry and Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the National Centre for State Defence Control.

Report by Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev.

A growing number of foreign countries express their readiness to join humanitarian operation on repatriation of Syrian refugees.

Thus, the Ambassador of Egypt to Russia, Ihab Nasr, announced that Egypt was ready to join repatriation of Syrrian refugees on July 25 during his meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov.

Yesterday, a working group of Defence Ministry and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation held a meeting with top political and military leaders. The sides determined joint steps to be taken to ensure early return of refugees to their homeland.

We do expect other countries, first of all Turkey and Jordan where there are also working groups operating at the place, to actively join this work.

We recognize the efforts taken by France. Yesterday, 43,700kg of the French humanitarian relief containing essentials and medication was delivered to residents of Eastern Ghouta. Russian military police ensured safe passage of humanitarian convoy to the area. Besides, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs facilitated delivering of the humanitarian cargo to the Eastern Ghouta.

Report of Nikolay Burtsev, the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

Russian diplomatic organizations including permanent missions of Russia to the UN and EU are working to consolidate international efforts aimed to enable refugees to return back to their former places of residence.

We coordinate the main efforts on it with the coutries where the number of Syrian refugees is the highest. These are Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. At present, there are consultations underway on cooperation in addressing challenges of repatriation. They also establish operational HQs and create unified regulations on cooperation with the Joint Coordination Centre.

A representative of the Russian Embassy in Lebanon held meeting with leaders of the Lebanese agencies in concern. They welcomed the Russian initiative to establish contacts to facilitate repatriation of Syria refugees.

Significant progress in this sphere is expected in Jordan. Officially, there are over 667,000 Syrian refugees there. However, its government states that there are actually up to 1,300,000 Syrian refugees in the country.

We continue the same work with European countries.

Yesterday, there were meetings of Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia, General of the Army Valery Gerasimov, the Chief of General Staff, First Deputy Defence Minister, with Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, and Emmanuel Macron, the President of France.

They discussed situation in Syria, i.e. arranging condition to ensure repatriation of Syrian refugees and facilitate political process. Although, before the meeting, Germany considered Syria as a territory engulfed in hostilities and sought to positively fulfill most of the requests filed by Syrian asylum-seekers.

The Latvian Migration Office has recently confirmed that there are 19 Syrian refugees in the country.

Russian diplomatic mission has received information from the Department of Justice and Equality of Ireland that there are Syrian refugees in the country. At present, there are 1,729 Syrians accommodated in the Irish centres for reception of refugees, At the same time, the European Neighbourhood Council of the Irish Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared that no one of them expressed desire to repatriate.

Norway adheres to the same policy. According to the information provided by the Russian Embassy in Oslo, Russian diplomats discussed various aspects of repatriation with specialists of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As the Norwegians consider Syria to be an unsafe state, most of the requests filed by Syrian asylum-seekers have already been fulfilled or are submitted for consideration.

The Swedish authorities have the same position on the issue. We continue working with representatives of the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They are ready to discuss repatriation of Syrian refugees after receiving relevant guarantees for security of Syrian civilians.

We carry on contacts with Syrian government on returning IDPs to places of their former residence. Thus, on 25 July, the Russian combined delegation headed by the Russian Presidents' Special Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin met with Bashar Asad, the President of Syria. The sides emphasized post-conflict recovery of the country including early return of Syrian refugees to their homeland. Bashar Asad welcomed the Russian innitiation in this sphere and stressed that he shall create all required conditions for safe and dignified repatriation of Syrian people.

Statement by Deputy Director of the International Cooperation Department of EMERCOM of Russia Igor Veselov

Pursuant to Instructions of the President of the Russian Federation, the Russian EMERCOM builds up capacity of humanitarian efforts to Syria jointly with relevant international organisations.

In order to help Syrian refugees returning to Syria from neighbouring countries and other regions in the country, the Russian EMERCOM conducts humanitarian operation.

Aircraft of the Russian EMERCOM have already delivered 128 tons of humanitarian cargo to the Syrian Arab Republic.

On July 12-18, the Il-76 airplane made three flights to the Latakia airport delivering 94 tons of food supplies (cereals and oil) from the Armenian-Russian Humanitarian Response Center.

On July 24, the EMERCOM airplane delivered to Latakia food supplies (rice grits, wheat flour and canned meat), medical dressings and disinfectants provided by the Russian State Reserve. The total weight of the delivered cargo has ammounted to 34 tons.

The SARC of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement distributed the cargoes.

On July 20-27, the Russian EMERCOM expert group held working meetings and consultations in Beirut and Damascus with heads of regional office of the United Nations Mine Action Service and representatives of the Syrian government to discuss multilateral projects of humanitarian demining in Syria.

At present,  it seems appropriate to establish a humanitarian demining training centre in the Syrian Arab Republic under the auspices of the International Civil Defence Organization in compliance with international standards. Russian instructors will train future specialists there.

Further, the graduates will make up humanitarian demining groups and squads, provided with necessary equipment and gear for humanitarian mine action operations, including the Russian-Syrian joint teams.

Report of the senior officer of duty shift of the Joint Coordination Centre Colonel Igor Sergeyev.

The Zemrani checkpoint at the border with
Lebanon, and Nasib at the border with Jordan are operating normally.

Since July 18, 2018,  in total 2,643 and 199 people passed through these checkpoints respectively.

It is reported that 306 Syrians returned back to:

Eastern Ghouta - 108 people (40 women and 45 children), Homs - 198 (75 women, 83 children).

46,501 people have left the Southwest de-escalation zone with 7,418 of them accommodated in the Jebab, Rsas and Kum al-Wasiya refugee camps.

In these camps there are still 2,197 people (545 women and 805 children).

In total, 26,355 refugees (8,793 women and 12,228 children) left the Idlib de-escalation zone.

18 people have settled the restored houses in the province of Deir ez-Zor (Khusham - 1 and Al-Tabiyah - 1).

They assessed  the social infrastructure and facilities, housing fund, amount of construction materials available in town of al-Husainiyah and al-Salhiyah, Deir ez-Zor province, Hamouriyah, Damascus province, and in Hanano Roundabout district, Aleppo city.

In order to improve living conditions for Syrians, and to complete infrastructure rehabilitation  it is necessary to supply materials in the following towns:

Al-Husainiyah - truck crane, three diesel generators, ten windows, five cubic metres of cement, 55m of tubes (water and sewer), ten waterproofing rolls, seven cubic metres of lumber to overhaul two schools and two bakeries.

Al-Salhiyah - ten windows, five cubic metres of cement, 55m of tubes (water and sewer), ten waterproofing rolls, seven cubic metres of lumber to overhaul a school.

Hamouriyah - 13 windows, four cubic metres of cement, 65m of tubes (water and sewer), 15 waterproofing rolls, nine cubic metres of lumber to overhaul a school.

Hanano RoundAbout - one dump truck, 16 windows, seven cubic metres of cement, 35m of tubes (water and sewer), 23 waterproofing rolls, 32 cubic metres of lumber to overhaul a school.

Ministry of public works and housing in cooperation with State General Organisation for Cement and Building Materials considered the applications of the heads of the local authorities for receiving construction materials for reconstruction of houses and other social facilities. Delivery is planned in three days. 

The SAA engineering units carry on the mine clearance operation in the settlements of Usaylah, Talbiseh, Nasiri-Harabesi, Homs province. 

1.2 ha of the territory, 12 buildings and 0.2 km of roads. They found and defused 41 explosive devices including 8 improvised explosive devices.

In Homs province they cleared up: 176.2 ha of the territory, 527 buildings and 18.5 km of roads.  They found and defused 6,035 explosive devices including 1,989 improvised explosive devices.

Today, officers of the Centre for Refugee Reception, Distribution and Settlement held meetings with representatives of Deir ez-Zor and Homs provincial administrations and religious denominations on humanitarian affairs, restoring electricity and water supply, solving social issues.

Response by Colonel A. V. Posunko.

Administration was appointed in branches of the Centre for Refugee Reception, Distribution and Settlement at the al-Salhiyah and Palmyra CPs. It is planned to deploy at the CPs the following sections: meeting; medical checkup; sanitary and epidemiological treatment; meals; recreation; documentation; clothing. There are also buses to transport refugees to their places of residence. The Syrian and Lebanese authorities are cooperating  to address emerging situations.

The al-Salhiyah Branch of the Centre for Refugee Reception, Distribution and Settlement (Deir ez-Zor province) as well as CP at Damascus international airport  and Baniyas maritime CP are planned to be opened on August 1.

The Palmyra Branch of the Centre for Refugee Reception, Distribution and Settlement (Zaza town for withdrawal of Rukban refugee camp) shall open after all organizational issues and security of Russian staff are coordinated with American and Jordanian sides via diplomatic contacts.

The Syrian government received proposals for establishment of an operational HQ to address challenges requiring joint actions of Syrian state agencies, as well as organisation of intergovernmental cooperation. At present, the head of the country prepares decision on establishment of the HQ, voting of interested ministries and departments is nearing its completion.

Statement by representative of the CSS Staff Sergei Kiurpek

Since the start of the humanitarian operation by Russian in the Syrian Arab Republic, people received 2,847 tons of various cargoes (food supplies, bottled water, gift set for children, medication and construction materials); total number of humanitarian actions - 1,873 to provide some 806,000 people with food.

Besides this year, 128,595 civilians (183 actions) received 414.2 tons of cargo.

At present, the are 613.8 tons of humanitarian relief are stored at the Khmeimim air base to ensure humanitarian actions for ten months.

Vehicles of the Russian Centre for Reconciliation carried out 1,624 trips to deliver humanitarian relief.  Humanitarian cargoes were airdropped in areas blocked by terrorists.

Railway infrastructure rehabilitation in the Syrian Arab Republic facilitated to arrange transportation of cargoes by rail from the port of Tartus to Jableh. A passage over the Euphrates River was reconstructed using a 156m small motor-road bridge.

To rehabilitate infrastructure and create favourable living conditions for refugees, the Russian Defence Ministry jointly with Federal Agency for State Reserves delivered 35 pieces of hardware, 37 container-type premises, 714 tons of construction materials since September 2017 (with 24 pieces of hardware and 579 tons of construction materials this year).

Besides, 29 pieces of hardware and over 3,748 tons of material assets are ready to be sent to Syria.

When it comes to accommodation measure, we started working on them since the beginning of the operation.

In September 2015 in Hama, we deployed and handed over to the Syrian side in Hama for 500 people, equipped with power station, vehicles for transportation and drinking water.

Mobile meals points are deployed in liberated areas.

To provide people with fresh-baked bread, a field bakery was deployed to bake 30 tons of bread from April till May 2016.

At present, there are 427 tents ready to be sent to Syria to accommodate 10,000 people in June this year (1 tent
for 24 people) as well as 2,500 thousand beds, 10 thousand sets of bedding and 20 field kitchens.

Statement by the Chief of Military Police, Lieutenant General Vladimir Ivanovsky.

Russian military police have been operating in the Syrian Arab Republic since October 2015.

Units are stationed in aviation and maritime bases in Khmeimim and Tartus, and other Syrian cities.

Its main goals are:

to maintain law and order in liverated areas;

ensure security of humanitarian actions
 and UN convoys;

evacuate refugees, militants and members of their families.

Since the beginning of 2018, observation posts of the Russian military police have registered over 2,260 violations of ceasefire regime and taken appropriate response measures.

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Since the beginning of 2018 more than 308,023 have been taken from Eastern Ghouta, Eastern Qalamounm Yarmouk, Al-Rastan, Daraa and al-Quneitra. Including: over 47,193 members of illegal armed groups, 79,902 members of their families and more than one 180,928 civilians.

From the beginning of 2018, the military police together with representatives of the Centre for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides ensured the safety of over 220 humanitarian actions and convoys of the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.

All activities are conducted in close cooperation with the Syrian authorities and its law enforcement agencies.

These factors contributed significantly to building trust in relation to the military police, not only on the part of the civilian population of Syria but also by militants.

At the present time, the officers of the military police together with the Centre for Refugee Reception, Distribution and Settlement are carrying out their tasks at the «Zemrani», «Nasib» and «Abu al-Duhur» checkpoints, patrolling the surrounding areas, and conducting reconnaissance and participating in the preparation of the places planned for the organizing of the Center's branches.

Statement of the representative of the Main Directorate for Personnel Work:

The Main Directorate for Personnel Work has prepared an analytical material which containing useful solutions applied in our country after the Great Patriotic War and in other States suffered during the modern local wars and armed conflicts.

The material has been transferred to the Ministry of National Reconciliation in Syria through the Centre for Refugee Reception, Distribution and Settlement.

Report by Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev.

Dear colleagues, summing up the results of today's meeting, I ask representatives of ministries and departments to pay the most serious attention to the assistance to the Syrian Arab Republic in resolving fundamental issues to date, in order to return the Syrian refugees to their habitual residence.

One of such artificial barriers in the Syrian Arab Republic is the existing state monopoly on the production of construction materials, which does not allow to increase the pace of recovery. In the framework of the implementation of plans for the revival of the infrastructure of Syria, and as a result, of the conditions for the early return of refugees, it is advisable to work with representatives of the Syrian authorities to transfer responsibility for the production of construction materials to the field, according to the needs of the provinces.

And another very important point. This morning, the Centre for Refugee Reception, Distribution and Settlement sent us a list of problem topics based on issues frequently asked at checkpoints by the Syrian refugees.

These issues are: refugee status settlement; determination of the list of documents necessary for the return, procedure in case of loss or absence of documents; conditions for the return of refugees to places of pre-war residence; settlement of the issue of military recruitment; definition of compensation and the procedure for its obtaining for destroyed housing and lost property; the procedure of the personal property transportation of refugees across the border and transport support for these purposes.

This situation requires immediate reaction from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Syrian Arab Republic to carry out clear rules for Syrian citizens for returning to their homes and place and should be provided in the form of a simple memo.

This memo should be in every Syrian embassy in the territory of foreign states, as well as at all checkpoints. In addition, its dissemination should be provided in all accessible ways to every Syrian refugee.

The whole complex of activities together with the Centre for Refugee Reception, Distribution and Settlement should be completed by August 3. 

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