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    Russian Chief of the General Staff, Gen. Valery Gerasimov

    Russian MoD Confirms General Staff Chief Gerasimov Sent Letter to Dunford

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    Valery Gerasimov, the head of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff, informed the Chairman of the Committee of the Chiefs of Staff of the US Armed Forces, General Joseph Dunford, about measures taken by Moscow and Damascus to stabilize the situation in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

    "The Russian Defense Ministry confirms that a letter was sent in July to US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford via an existing confidential communications channel," the ministry said in a statement.

    In particular, it was said about the readiness of the Russians to work with the Syrian authorities on providing security guarantees to refugees from the Rukban camp in the US-controlled area of al-Tanf and create the necessary conditions for their return to their homes.

    "A proposal was also made to coordinate issues of humanitarian demining, including in Raqqa, addressing other urgent humanitarian problems to speed up the establishment of a peaceful life throughout Syria and neutralizing attempts to attract terrorists into their ranks," the Defense Ministry added.

    READ MORE: Russia Sends Specific Proposals to US to Facilitate Return of Syrian Refugees

    "In response to the statement of J. Dunford after a Helsinki meeting on June 8, Chief of the Russian General Staff Gen. V. Gerasimov informed his counterpart about the measures taken by Russia in coordination with the Syrian government on the stabilization of the situation in Syria," the statement read.

    The US and Russian military have a private hotline communications channel in order to avoid unwanted military collisions in Syria. However, this latest report shows that the channel might also be used to discuss matters that are not strictly military in nature, Reuters notes.

    During the summit between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, the talks were focused on "how we might get the [Syrian] refugees back," in the words of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

    Following the summit, Trump came under fire from his opponents, who claimed that Trump should have pressed Putin over alleged Russian meddling in American elections.


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