07:33 GMT +327 May 2017
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    Children in the village of Brabishbo, Syria greet Russian servicemen with flowers and citrus fruit

    Echoes of Wars Gone By: Syrian Children Greet Russian Troops With Flowers

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    Russian troops arriving in the Syrian mountain village of Brabishbo were showered with flowers, citrus fruit and songs by local children as they delivered humanitarian aid to the settlement. The emotional scene inevitably brought to mind images of Soviet forces receiving flowers from locals as they fought to liberate Europe from the Nazis in WWII.

    The servicemen arrived in the village on Friday with two tons' worth of aid. Brabishbo has been marked a priority for aid as it recovers from a siege by Islamist militants.

    A year and a half ago, the settlement was effectively surrounded by the jihadists, who advanced toward the settlement from two flanks simultaneously, and came dangerously close to capturing the village, shelling it with mortar fire.

    Local men took up arms, and helped the army defend the village. Gradually, with the support of the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces, the terrorists were forced to lift the siege, and were driven from the neighboring towns and villages.

    During the two month siege, 55 of Brabishbo's estimated 1,500 residents lost their lives. Nearly a hundred more were injured, and five others reported missing. Four residents are presently serving with the Syrian Arab Army, leaving their families without a breadwinner.

    Children greeted the Russian troops with fresh flowers and oranges as they arrived.  A local resident sang two songs – one about the friendship between Russia and Syria, and a second about love.

    Jihad Sahour, a local man wounded by terrorist shelling while the settlement was under siege, thanked Russia for the aid. "It's now difficult for me to walk and to work – the militants wounded me as I defended my native land together with the other residents of Brabishbo. Therefore, I'm very grateful to Russia for its help," the man said, speaking to reporters.

    Another local resident, Suleiman Shaban, had three sons. One was killed in fighting to liberate Aleppo. Another was heavily wounded in Daraa. "In my old age I have been left without the support of my sons. This humanitarian assistance came at just the right time," the pensioner said.

    The aid package delivered by the Russian troops included some 400 packages of food, including rice, flour, sugar and water. Speaking to reporters, Col. Vyacheslav Rumyantsev explained that the mission was aimed at "assisting areas most affected by the actions of the terrorists."

    Some Russians found the images and the story very touching, and reminiscent of scenes from over 70 years ago, as Soviet troops fought to liberate Eastern Europe from Nazi occupation at the close of World War II. Then too it was a common sight for local residents to shower the soldiers with flowers. On Tuesday, Russia will mark the 72nd anniversary of Victory over Nazism in the Second World War.

    Residents of Sofia, Bulgaria welcomes Soviet army units, 1944.
    © Sputnik/
    Residents of Sofia, Bulgaria welcomes Soviet army units, 1944.
    Tags:
    humanitarian aid, Russian Reconciliation Center, Syria, Russia
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