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Russian and Syrian joint coordination committees hold session in Moscow on repatriation of Syrian refugees

Syrians are actively returning back to pre-war places of residence.

At present there are 1,507,515 Syrian returnees including 1,246,975 internally displaced persons and 260,540 refugees from abroad.

Over the past week, 7,028 Syrian citizens have returned to their homes, including 1,787 internally displaced persons and 5,241 refugees from foreign countries.

Inflow of returning refugees has significantly intensified, first of all from Jordan as the Nasib checkpoint started functioning.

Lebanon and Jordan are actively working on repatriation of Syrian citizens. Lebanese government declared its readiness to ensure repatriation of some 200,000 refugees back to Syria by the end of the year. At the same time repatriation is purely voluntary and corresponds to basic principals of the Unites Nations Organisation.

Rehabilitation process of social facilities and infrastructure has positive momentum. Over the past week, the following facilities were repaired and commissioned in various parts of the country: 149 residential buildings, 2 schools, a medical institution, a kindergarten, a water supply facility, 4 bakeries, 3 electrical substations, 8 industrial enterprises.

Currently, in 312 settlements work is underway to overhaul: 194 schools, 175 kindergartens, 173 bakeries, 200 water pump stations, 177 power substations,

168 medical institutions, 1,994 residential buildings and 88 places of worship.

In order to maintain conditions favourable for the return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their places of origin, active humanitarian activities are being carried out. Humanitarian actions are regularly held both in the areas of permanent residence of Syrian citizens and in places of refugee temporary accommodation.

Situation in the Rukban refugee camp in the territory controlled by the international anti-terrorist coalition remains challenging. The camp suffers critical, even disastrous situation. . Its inhabitants literally survive in harshest conditions and are in dire need of the essentials.

As the American side was not ready to ensure security of the convoy in the 55-kilometer zone around the military base at Al-Tanf, humanitarian aid could not be delivered to the Rukban for a long time to the Syrians in critical condition.

But despite all the obstacles, due to the joint efforts of the Bulletin of the Centre for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides and Refugee Migration Monitoring, as well as the Syrian Joint Coordination HQ, this situation was finally reversed. Realizing the full responsibility, we provided reliable security and defence of the convoy carrying cargo and on November 3, a humanitarian action took place. The first humanitarian convoy reached the Rukban refugee camp.

But what we managed to deliver to Rukban today is only a small part of what is required, and we all need to understand that humanitarian convoys will not solve the problems of more than 50,000 people in the camp. Today more than ever, we need fundamental decisions to return these Syrians, who are in a difficult life situation, to their places of permanent residence. And this is to be resolved without delay. And direct responsibility for this, in the first place, lies with the American side.

For our part, we and our Syrian colleagues are ready to continue to provide comprehensive assistance and support for humanitarian activities and, in general, for the return of refugees from the 55-kilometre zone around the US military base at Al-Tanf to former places of residence.

The summit of Russia, Germany, Turkey and France in Istanbul was an important milestone in the settlement of Syrian crisis. Following the talks, the parties noted that it is necessary to actively promote political process for the speedy restoration of peaceful life in Syria. Constitutional Committee is to be formed by the end of the year.

Moreover, during the meeting, the leaders supported the idea of holding an International Conference on Refugees, the preparatory work for which continues today.

Report by Iliya Morgunov, the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

November 4, 2018 Syrian President Bashar Asad received a joint delegation in Damascus headed by Russian Government Special Envoy on Syrian settlement Mr. Lavrentyev. The Syrian President learned about results of the Russia-Turkey-Germany-France quadrilateral summit held in Istanbul on October 27.

Mr. Bashar Assad was informed about the preparation of the next high-level international meeting in Astana to be held at the end of November this year, to which he promised to send a Syrian government delegation.

Russia's Permanent Mission to the UN is taking efforts to adjust this organization’s approach to supporting Syria’s recovery efforts. Relevant work is underway with the UN Secretariat and country delegations.

At the request of the EU delegation to the United Nations in Geneva, which cited a working schedule, the next meeting in a triple format (Russia-EU-UNHCR) was postponed from October 30 to November 15. We will propose to UNHCR to consider the possibility of organizing study visits of refugees headed by the Office of Refugees to Syria to assess the situation at the site.

The Russian Permanent Mission to the United Nations Office at Geneva held consultations with leadership of the Norwegian Refugee Council, a Norwegian non-government organisation (NGO), on the possible involvement of NGOs in the Russian initiative on repatriation Syrian refugees. Russian embassy in Oslo also held negotiations on its issue with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

At a regular meeting of the Russian-Jordanian headquarters for Syrian refugees held on October 31 in Amman, Jordanians confirmed their interest in speedy elimination of the Rukban camp after complete resettlement of the refugees and IDPs staying there to Syria. For this, Amman is ready to work on the basis of the Russian “road map”. A priority issue for Jordanians is closure of the camp, for which, they believe, it is necessary to strengthen joint outreach to residents of the camp, especially from the Syrian authorities. On November 11 this year a meeting with US representatives is scheduled. The Russian Embassy in Amman sees absence of a common approach in solving the Rukban problem among international organizations present in Jordan. For example, WFP, UNICEF, ICRC go in for stepping up humanitarian aid (the United States advocate for it), and the UN Resident Coordinator in Amman - for the early resettlement of refugees to Syria.

Report by Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev.

Recently, the Norwegian side demonstrated active position in rendering assistance to Syria in infrastructure rehabilitation and humanitarian demining. National Norwegian non-government organisations are actively working on issues aimed at ecobomic cooperation with the Syrian government. This may be a positive signal for beginning of the cooperation between the Syrian government and other European countries.

Report by the Deputy Head of the Syrian Joint Coordination HQ Muteza Kattana.

The Syrian government is working on improvement of current environment in all provinces of Syria to ensure recovery of the country and early return of refugees.

As part of this work, President Bashar Al-Assad ruled to organise a visit of government delegation to the province of Aleppo, to inspect implementation of state economic and social projects.

Meetings were held with the leaders of the Syrian economic capital, where they identified the needs of the province in the development of the services sector, in particular on the removal of solid waste and maintaining streets clean.

Recently, for this purpose, the Ministry of Local Administration and Ecology distributed special equipment to the provinces.

To provide fire departments of the emergency management, 25 firefighting vehicles of various specializations were allocated, as well as sets of equipment and special hardware.

Contracts have been signed to supply 200 buses, which by the end of this year will go to motor transport enterprises of various provinces in order to ensure operation of municipal transport, to support the system of internal transportation.

Report by the representative of the Ministry of National Reconciliation Jany Haddur.

At this stage, the main efforts of our ministry are focused on ensuring social protection of the population.

The second phase of the post-conflict national programme of Syria is being prepared. An appropriate strategy and a phased plan for recovery of the country have been developed, which includes several areas, among which the main ones are social and cultural.

Today we are working to create a rehabilitation center, psychological support and reintegration of former militants who settled their status and returned to their homeland. For such citizens there is a rehabilitation programme, as well as additional support and social support for displaced families.

Work is underway to create a center for monitoring and collecting information on social phenomena to improve feedback and decisions taken, as well as to conduct sociological and analytical post-crisis research and to identify problems threatening social security.

Efforts are being made to attract residents of the north-eastern regions to resolve issues of their status in cooperation with the relevant authorities.

Report by the representative of the Ministry of Administrative Development Hiby Salim.

The Ministry of Administrative Development continues active work on implementation on national recovery project approved by Syrian President Bashar Asad. One of its main objectives is to improve regulatory frmaework for local public authorities.

A number of projects has been developed for this activity.

There are three new centres to be formed at the Ministry of Administrative Development:

 Human Resource Service Centre;

Center for support of managers and definition of quality standards of administrative work;

Centre for Administrative Monitoring

In addition, a national plan is being developed aimed at improving skills of civil personnel.

Four bills are also being drafted: a law on public service, a law on human resources management, a law on departmental organization, a law on principles and values of public office.

Report of Governor Daraa province, Syrian Arab Republic, Mohammad Khaled Al Hannus

Daraa province is located in south-west of the Syrian Arab Republic. It covers 3,730 sq km, which is 2% of the total area of Syria. Before the crises, the population was 1,327,037 people which was 4.5% of total population. Today it inhabits by some 1,100,000 people.

The Syrian-Jordanian border is 106 km long. There are two main border crossings - Nasib and the Daraa old customs point.

The province suffered terrorist aggression by armed groups, in particular, administrative and service facilities, infrastructure and private property were looted and burned.

After liberation of the province, we carried out a series of priority measures to provide our citizens with everything they need.

To provide drinking water, 125 wells were restored and put into operation in 72 residential areas, water pumping stations were overhauled.

In order to supply electricity, 6 out of 11 main power stations were restored and put into operation. At three power stations the work is underway. Electricity was recovered in 62 residential areas.

As part of the restoration of communication networks, a fiber-optic cable between Damascus and Daraa was repaired; a fiber-optic cable was set between Daraa and al-Suwayda. Work is underway to restore international communications cable with Jordan.

In addition, a large number of fiber optic cables have been restored and put into operation in the province. Communications have been recovered in nine settlements.

Work is underway to remove rubble. For this purpose we signed a number of contracts with state organizations.

For repair of roads, a contract was concluded with a branch of the state company for the construction of roads and bridges in Daraa. Roads have been restored in 10 settlements, and work continues in 12 cities.

During the visit of the Minister of Local Administration and Ecology, the province received financial subsidies to overhaul roads and sewer systems, for immediate needs of the administrative units of the province, for the expenses of the city council of Dara'a, for civil defence, for employment of citizens.

Moreover 11 state bakeries were restored and launched, bringing the total number of operating bakeries to 14. 67 out of 150 private bakeries were put into operation.

108 out of 127 filling stations were restored; 175,000 gas cylinders are produced monthly.

Educational system is being restored in the province. 80 out of 943 state schools have been overhauled. 387 schools were put into operation. Construction materials are prepared to recover 111 completely destroyed schools. All working schools are provided with educational personnel, as well as all the necessary supplies for the educational process.

There are 97 medical centres with 25 of them destroyed. Seven medical centres were recovered in Al-Jizzeh. Two hospitals have been overhauled. Due to assistance of international organisations, 14 medical centres were put into operation in Nawa.

At present we are working to rehabilitate infrastructure in Atman, al-Sheikh, Saad, al-Tyba and Saida.

Forty-five wells are being restored to recover agricultural production, strictly in accordance with the development plan.

Report by Chief of the Bulletin of the Centre for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides and Refugee Migration Monitoring Lieutenant General Vladimir Savchenko

Over the past period, the refugee checkpoints have operated in normal mode.

Over the past day, 2,156 people (647 women and 1,099 children) left Lebanon for Syria via the Jaydet-Yabus and Talkalakh CPs, 3,085 people (927 women and 1,562 children) from Jordan via the Nasib CP.

It is reported that 1,787 Syrians returned back to:

Eastern Ghouta (Damascus province) - 258 people (77 women and 132 children).

1,529 people (women - 475, children - 795) and 83 vehicles returned back to the places of permanent residence in Deir ez-Zor, Damascus and Homs provinces through the checkpoint al-Salhiyah.

Humanitarian relief was delivered to the Rukban refugee camp. A convoy made up of 78 vehicles safely reached the destination. Refugees received humanitarian cargo with a total weight of 450 tons: food supplies, non-food products, cleaning products and medication ((wheat flour - 300 tons, food sets (sugar, cereals) - 100 tons, season clothing - 7,000 sets, kitchen appliances - 10,000 sets, personal hygiene items - 10,000 sets, sanitary napkins - 5,000 sets, plastic sheets - 10,000 pieces, water purification tablets - 4,000 pieces, medicine kits - 100,000 sets).

In addition, children under the age of five years were vaccinated.

Over the past week, the Russian side held nine humanitarian actions. People received 3,450 food sets with a total weight of 14.91 tons.

In total, the Russian side has organised and carried out 1,982 humanitarian actions, delivering  3,101.68 tons of food supplies, the bare necessities and bottled water.

In total, 96,947 Syrians were provided with medical assistance by Russian military medics.

The Centre for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides and Refugee Migration Monitoring jointly with Joint Coordination Committee conduct joint events to prepare temporary accomodation facilities for refugees which include: supply of warm clothing, blankets, and heating devices. The premises are being insulated for refugees. Diesel fuel stocks are being created.

Report by Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev.

It is necessary to further remind the Syrian citizens abroad through the media so that even in areas remote from Syria they understand and feel that they are waited at home, where they can get everything they need from the government, and after employment they will be able to create decent conditions for living.

Abbas Ibrahim, Director General of the Lebanese State Security Directorate, announced readiness of his subordinate units to ensure return of at least 200,000 Syrian citizens to his homeland by the end of the year.

It is necessary to provide a sufficient number of places to accommodate them, and to take special control over preparation of reception points and equipping them with everything necessary for a decent living; to conduct point field visits on a daily basis, identify problematic issues and, find ways to solve them in direct contact with Syrian colleagues.

Report by the representative of the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation, Konstantin Abramov

Despite the difficult situation in Syria, Syrian companies receive assistance in restoring country's oil, gas and electricity sector continues.

In the near future, it is planned to participate in implementation of measures for restoration and modernization of the following facilities:

Syrian gas transmission network;

petroleum pipelines;

four largest thermal power plants "Aleppo", "Mehardeh", "Tishrin", "Deir ez-Zor";

oil refineries, power lines, gas and oil wells.

Implementation of all the plans for restoration and development of energy infrastructure in Syria will ensure employment of a significant number of returning specialists and create conditions for the earliest possible peaceful life in the country.

Report by representative of Ministry of Economic Development Renat Baranukov

In 2018, the commodity turnover between Russia and Syria increased by 34.6% comparing with last year.

In accordance with decision of the Government of the Russian Federation, the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia provides functions of the secretariat of joint commissions with foreign countries.

The Working Group on Cooperation in the Field of Energy and the Working Group on Cooperation in the Field of Industry carry out joint activities in the framework of the Russian-Syrian permanent commission for trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation.

Currently, joint work is underway to attract investor companies as residents of free economic zones of Syria "Hashya" and "Latakia".

In October 2018, materials on investment projects were received from the Syrian side, as well as regulatory and legal acts of the Syrian Arab Republic in the sphere of trade and economic activities, which are being approved by the relevant Russian departments and organizations.

Report by Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev.

This week, the main efforts should be focused on preparing reception and accommodation centers for refugees for winter conditions. It is also necessary to provide a normal functioning of life support systems to maintain a comfortable stay of returnees.

I ask representatives of the Russian and Syrian ministries of foreign affairs to actively work to involve Western countries in organizing an international conference on refugees, to use all possible levers to ensure the representativity of the forum, and as part of establishing an inter-Syrian dialogue, actively contribute to advancing the political process Constitutional committee.

I ask all officials of the joint coordination headquarters to maintain constant interaction on the whole range of issues related to restoring peace and returning to the homes of temporarily displaced persons. It is also necessary to conduct 24/7 exchange of information and promptly respond to any changes in the situation in all areas of activity.

It is of paramount importance to continue to convey to the international community, Syrian citizens living abroad, reliable information on recovery of Syria through the mass media and the Internet,

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