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Working groups on repatriation of refugees head for Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey

Pursuant to the decision of General of the Army Sergei Shoigu, the Minister of Defence, the Joint Coordination Centre was significantly extended. Representatives of another 14 ministries and departments joined the centre. All of them are present at the meeting.

Ministry of the Internal Affairs;

Russian Federation for Affairs for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters;

Federal Biomedical Agency;

Ministry of Culture;

Ministry of Enlightenment;

Ministry of Industry and Trade;

Ministry of Construction Industry, Housing and Utilities Sector;

Ministry of Transport;

Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs;

Ministry of Economic Development;

Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare;

Federal Air Transport Agency;

Federal Agency of Maritime and River Transportation;

Federal Agency for State Reserves;

The composition will be further updated. It concerns people responsible for operation abroad including representatives of other countries.

The Russian Federation continues to provide humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people. On 24 July, the plane Il-76 delivered 34 tons of humanitarian relief containing food supplies and medication. The Centre for Refugee Reception, Distribution and Settlement has already handed over the humanitarian relief to the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. It will be delivered to refugees returning to the liberated towns and people in need living in hard-to-reach areas.

Besides, experts of the Russian EMERCOM Rescue Operations of Particular Risk Centre ("the Leader") to discus with representatives of the Syrian authorities participation of Russian experts in the humanitarian demining in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Among other tasks, the Joint Coordination Centre is involved in providing assistance to Syrian citizens who need urgent medical aid. Yesterday, a Russian military airplane delivered Yusif Mujad, a cancer patient, from the Khmeimim air base to St. Petersburg. He will undergo a   bone marrow transplantation in the Research Center for pediatric hematology/oncology.

We continue to adhere to the principle that the return of refugees should be strictly voluntary and in safety when taking active steps to conclude agreements with foreign partners on cooperation on Syrian refugees.

We have already orginised this work jointly with Lebanon. Today another large group of Syrian refugees have crossed the border from Lebanon and returned to Syria supervised by representatives of the both governments and officials of the Centre for Refugee Reception, Distribution and Settlement.

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

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

Lebanese politicians agree to send the refugees back. A significant obstacle to this is that most of Syrians have no identity documents (passports). The sides working to address this problem.

During the meetings in the Foreign Ministry of Jordan, the initiative of Russia was supported, and Moscow's actions were highly appreciated. Thus in accordance with the instructions of the Joint Coordination Centre intensified its efforts to return Syrian refugees from Jordan to Syria. Representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Jordan noted that in the the near future, some 350,000 to 400,000 refugees can return back to Syria, which is much higher than previously stated figures.

The same work is actively underway with the Turkish authorities.

In general, we work with Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey to establish operational headquarters for the coordination of the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland.

We continue to develop operational provisions and unified ruled for headquarters to cooperate with the Joint Coordination Centre.

So far, Washington has refrained from official comments on cooperation with Russia in humanitarian affairs in the Syrian Arab Republic. There is no reaction of the American side to the statement by the Defence Ministry on proposals for the repatriation of Syrian refugees. We continue to seek a meeting in the administration on the Syrian humanitarian issue.

When it comes to the Europe, the moods are diverse.

So, on July 24, Moscow hosted the Russian-French consultations on Syria, including the issue of the return of refugees in the Syrian Arab Republic on the agenda and humanitarian assistance. The Russian side was represented by Russian President's Special Envoy on Syria A.l. Lavrentyev and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia S.V. Vershinin. The French side was represented by the personal envoy of the French President on Syria, Francois Sinemo.

We continue contacts with the Greek side on repatriation of Syria refugees.

We held negotiations with the Swedish Migration Service. At this moment, Sweden adheres to its policy that stipulates for integration of Syrians into the Swedish society.

In the contacts of the Russian Embassy with representatives of the authorities of Portugal, the Portuguese side reported about more than three hundreds of Syrian refugees leaving the country. There are about 400 Syrian refugees in Portugal.

The Swiss government announced that Syrian refugees will be able to integrate in Swiss society following the granting of refugee status, which gives the right for employment and social security.

Russian embassy in Estonia maintains active contacts with the Foreign Ministry of this country on the issue of Syrian refugees.  Prime Minister Jüri Ratas was informed about efforts of the Russian Federation.

We carry on contacts with Syrian government on returning IDPs to places of their former residence.

The report is over.

Report by Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev.

Defence Minister of the Russian Federation General of the Army Sergei Shoigu approved our proposals on sending working groups to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey to work on the return of refugees to the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic.

Russian diplomatic missions in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey shall provide comprehensive assistance to the officials in developing plans for repatriation of refugees in these countries and in establishing 24-hour joint HQs.

Report of Major General A. Tsygankov.

Over the past 24 hours, 426 refugees have returned to the Syrian Arab Republic from foreign countries (166 women and 182 children).

At the same time, 314 of them  (129 women and 137 children)  have passed the Zemrani CP from Lebanon, and 112 refugees (37 women and 45 children) from Jordan through the Nasib CP.

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

Today, the third branch (Abu-al-Duhur) of the Centre for Refugee Reception, Distribution and Settlement has been officially opened. Its capacity is 1,500 people and 30 vehicles per day. Relevant local leaders were informed about its launch. People in need are provided with transport.

In total 453 refugees (132 women and 203 children) have passed via the Abu al-Duhur CP to Aleppo province from the Idlib de-escalation zone.

In total, 26,200 refugees (8,746 women and 12,154 children) left the Idlib de-escalation zone.

All the three CPs are provided with reserved buses on 4-hour standby to deliver refugees to their homes.

Administration is being formed in two CPs: Salhiyah and Palmyra.

Since June 27, in total 46,501 people have left the Southwest de-escalation zone with 7,376 of them accommodated in the Jebab and RSA's refugee camps.

In these camps there are still 2,155 people – 1,048 and 1,107 people respectively (545 women and 805 children). Eighty-six refugees have arrived there and 24 people left it over the past day.

Over the past day, five buildings have been reconstructed in the Eastern Ghouta.

Power line poles are being installed along the Homs-Hama road. It is necessary to set 137: 137 of them were placed earlier; three poles were installed over the past day.

They assessed the social infrastructure and facilities, housing fund, amount of construction materials available in Harasta al Basal (Eastern Ghouta) and Busra al-Harir (Daraa province).

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

Harasta al Basal - one drilling station, 44 duralumin windows, 34 cubic metres of cement, 550m of tubes (water and sewer), 62 waterproofing rolls, 110 cubic metres of lumber to overhaul a school and a water pump station;

Busra al-Harir - a wheeled crane, a front loader, 26 duralumin windows, 18 cubic metres of cement, 3,000 bricks, 36 tons of asphalt, 320m of tubes (water and sewer), 35 waterproofing rolls,
 50 cubic metres of lumber to overhaul child health centre and adjacent road.

In total, in the Syrian Arab Republic:

89 medical and 214 educational organizations have been recovered;

261km of roads were recovered (2km - over the past day);

192km of power line have been installed (3km - over the past day);

84 power substations, 71 water supply facilities and two fuel-energy complexes have been put into operation.

The Zemrani checkpoint (CP) at the border with Lebanon in Falita (Damascus province), and Nasib (Daraa province) at the border with Jordan in Daraa are equipped with medical aid.

Besides, 137 refugees (including 73 children) were provided with medical aid during operation of the Abu-Duhur humanitarian corridor.

Over the past day, 142 refugees including 76 children were provided with medical care.

In total, 86,153 Syrians were provided with medical assistance by Russian military medics.

Today the Centre for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides held humanitarian action in Marrat, Deir ez-Zor province. People received 650 food sets with a total weight of 2,800kg.

In total, the Russian side has organised and carried out 1,872 humanitarian actions, delivering  2,844 tons of food supplies, the bare necessities and bottled water.

The SAA engineering units carry on the mine clearance operation in the settlements of Al-Rastan, Al-Gasbiyah, Kafr Laha, Homs province.

1.5 ha of the territory, 13 buildings and 1km of roads. They found and defused 54 explosive devices including 22 improvised explosive devices.

In total in Homs province, they cleared up 173 ha of the territory, 500 buildings and 17km of roads. They found and defused 5,937 explosive devices including 1,969 improvised explosive devices.

Report by Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev.

In three days, Russian side jointly with Syrian authorities will define amount of equipment and composition of administration at airports and seaport established for border crossing. They will start functioning from Monday. For the rest of the checkpoints to be deployed in the near future, all preparatory activities are to be completed by August 1.

Report by Divisional General Hassan Ahmed Hassan, the Representative of the Chief of the Main Political Directorate of the Syrian Arab Republic

In the beginning I want to emphasize the great importance of efforts made by our Russian friends to return Syrian refugees to their homeland. The Syrian government exerts any effort to return back its people, providing all guarantees to ensure their repatriation.

President Bashar Al-Assad declared a general amnesty decrees to give all full safety and unquestionable guarantee. The war against terrorism is coming to an end, the ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and their allies are on last breath, homecoming facilitates recovery of the country.

And now I want to appeal to the countries where there are Syrian citizens, whom terrorism forced to go abroad.

If you are really interested in the Syrian people, its freedom, its worthy life, let's help the Syrians to return to their homeland! And anyone who hinders their return shows that he acts against the interests of the Syrian people that he supports terrorism, which the Syrians have been suffering from.

In conclusion, I want to note that the Syrian government, having survived more than seven years of war, has proved to be strong and cohesive, and today encourages all its people to return. -

Report of the Syrian Ministry of National Reconciliation by Ahmed Mounir.

Now the main task is to repatriate the Syrian refugees.

Syrian government has taken all necessary measures for this. With the help of the Russian Centre for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides, most of the people returned to such areas as Vadi Barada, Eastern Ghouta, Homs and Aleppo. Currently, 6,200 citizens in three phases have returned to Qalamoun, the third group passed through the Zemrani CP (2,643 people).

All measures are taken to ensure the reception of refugees, facilitate everyday problems, rehabilitate the status of people and problems on the duty of military service. Embassy of Syria in neighboring countries are working round the clock to register documents for repatriation.

The Syrian leadership prepared centres for temporary accommodation of refugees whose homes were destroyed.

The Syrian government mobilized all resources to assist war-affected areas. They sent equipment and construction materials  to restore socially important infrastructure in the provinces of Aleppo, Homs, Damascus, Hama.

So, in the province of Aleppo, they restored the water supply at 81 objects, 32 sewerage facilities, 1,590 transformators, telephone lines in 14 towns, 16 medical centres, and 130 schools.

Soon we will finish reconstruction of 30 water supply stations, 8 sewerage stations, 25 transformators, telephone lines in 10 towns, 7 medical centres and 95 schools.

In Homs province they overhauled 57 schools, 8 hospitals, a maternity hospital, the court building, fully supplied with electricity and water (repaired on 80%).

In the near future we shall complete the construction of five new hospitals.

As favorable living conditions are established, 4,000 families returned back to Homs.

However, the real situation shows that international organizations implement the plan of assistance for no more than half. We urge all international organizations to strictly adhere to the approved plans. I shall repeat that the main goal is repatriation of Syrian refugees and providing them with a decent life.

Report by Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev.

To date, this process involves the national Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry for National Reconciliation in Syria. I believe that at this stage it is not enough. Successful reconstruction requires close collaboration of all existing state structures and the establishment, if necessary, new ones to address the most complicated and urgent tasks.

To effectively address emerging issues that require the joint participation of Syrian authorities at all levels, it is necessary to create an operational HQ at the Ministry for National Reconciliation which will be made up representatives of all ministries and departments of the Syrian Arab Republic concerned .

I ask the chief of the Centre for Refugee Reception, Distribution and Settlement to woek on this issue and coordinate it with Syrian colleagues. - It is to be done in the next ten days.

I appeal to the representative of the Chief of Department on Personnel.

It is necessary to use historical experience in recovering of the country. Here we can refer to the history of the Russian State. I believe that the experience of our country in the recovery of economy after the Great Patriotic War is unique, because a huge amount of tasks were solved in the shortest time at the highest patriotism of all the people. - -

On this basis I ask to prepare analytical material and bring it to the Syrian side.

Report of Branch Head of the Centre for Refugee Reception, Distribution and Settlement, Colonel M. Kilasev

Since July 23, the Nasib CP has been working in 24-hour operation.
 The Syrian and Lebanese authorities are cooperating
 to address emerging situations.

There are offices deployed at checkpoints:

- reception;

- medical checkup;

- sanitary treatment;

- meals;

- recreation;

- registration of documents;

- clothing;

- material support (including funds);

- repatriation.

The administration was appointed; the 24-hour duty is organized. Checkpoint is able to provide the daily receiving, distribution and sending of 4,000 people and 50 cars.

In total, 199 persons returned from abroad through the checkpoint (63 women; 89 children), including 112 per day (37 women; 45 children).

Report of Branch Head of the Centre for Refugee Reception, Distribution and Settlement, Major General Demyanenko.

To facilitate the return of Syrian refugees from the area of the Idlib de-escalation zone No 1, a branch of the Centre for Refugee Reception, Distribution and Settlement (Abu-Duhur) (54 km south of Aleppo).

It is made up of officers of the Security Bureau and representatives of four Syrian divisions. In total - 80 people.

Medical post, hot meals and essential items point are deployed at the CP. Operation hours of the CP: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Its capacity is 1,500 people and 30 vehicles per day.

In total 453 refugees (132 women and 203 children) have passed via the Abu al-Duhur CP to Aleppo province from the Idlib de-escalation zone.

In total, 26,200 refugees (8,746 women and 12,154 children) left the Idlib de-escalation zone.

Documents are checked, relevant local administration has been informed on their arrival to give consent.

People in need are provided with transport.

The next meeting in this expanded format we shall hold on Friday at 15 p.m.

I ask representatives of ministries and departments, once again included in the composition of the Joint Coordination Centre to prepare proposals, coordinate them with the Syrian authorities on the relevant activities and to introduce the General Plan for the Joint Coordination Centre through operational duty shift. Deadline: July 30.

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