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    Syrian refugees living in Turkey wait to register at the Bab al-Salama crossing, near the city of Azaz in northern Syria, on June 18, 2017

    Russia Sends Specific Proposals to US to Facilitate Return of Syrian Refugees

    © AFP 2018 / Nazeer al-Khatib
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russia has sent specific proposals to the United States to organize joint work to return Syrian refugees to their home country taking into account the recent arrangements at the US-Russia high-level summit in Helsinki, head of Russia's National Defense Control Center Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev said Friday.

    According to the official, "the package of proposals prescribes the development of a joint plan on the return of refugees to places of pre-conflict residence, the priority return of Syrian citizens from Lebanon and Jordan, the establishment of a joint Russian-US-Jordanian group on the basis of the Amman monitoring center, and the formation of a similar group in Lebanon."

    He noted that the promotion of the progress may become possible thanks to the agreements reached by the presidents of Russia and the United States during the Helsinki summit.

    READ MORE: Senior Russian MP Offers 3 Lessons for US to Learn About Peacebuilding in Syria

    In addition, the official also revealed that almost 7 million people have fled Syria since the beginning of the conflict in 2011, whereas "more than 1,700,000 people may return to their homes in Syria in the near future."

    According to Mizintsev, the majority of Syrian refugees are currently residing in 45 countries, primarily in the border regions of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

    On July 18, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that it had established a refugee center in Syria responsible for humanitarian assistance and the revival of health care and other social services, as well as the monitoring of the return of Syrian refugees to their homes.

    The Syrian civil war began in 2011, with the government forces fighting against numerous terror groups, such as Daesh*, and opposition factions. Russia backs the legitimate Syrian government headed by President Bashar Assad. Since 2015 Moscow has been conducting an aerial campaign in Syria at the official invitation of Assad, fighting terrorists.

    In December 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial withdrawal of troops from Syria, since Russia’s air campaign in Syria has largely reached the final goal of freeing the land from Islamist militants.

    READ MORE: Trump, Putin Likely to Agree on General Principles in Syria — Trump's Ex-Adviser

    Moreover, Russia has been actively promoting the peace process in Syria and is involved in diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict in the country. Russia, alongside Iran and Turkey, is a guarantor of the Syrian ceasefire under the Astana reconciliation process.


    *Daesh (also called IS/ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State) is a terrorist group banned in Russia

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    Tags:
    refugee, migrant crisis, Helsinki Summit, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Syria, United States, Russia
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