Sunday, May 29, 2022

Putin urges return of refugees to Syria to rebuild country

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Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasised on Monday that the return of refugees to Syria was necessary to rebuild the war-torn country.

There are currently more than 6.5 million Syrian refugees outside the country, Putin said in a video chat with Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad, according to a Kremlin transcript.

“The overwhelming majority of them are able-bodied citizens who could and should participate in the reconstruction of their country,” Putin said.

Russia has been the strongest ally of Al-Assad in Syria’s devastating, multi-sided civil war in recent years, with the Russian military turning the tide of the conflict in al-Assad’s favour.

Putin said in the conversation that Syria must now focus on its restoration, as extremist groups in the country have been largely defeated.

A Russian delegation is to participate in a conference in Damascus on Wednesday and Thursday, intended to foster the return of refugees to Syria as well as internally displaced civilians to their homes within the country.

“More than 850,000 Syrian citizens have returned from abroad, and more than 1.3 million have returned to their places of permanent residence inside the country,” Putin said.

Al-Assad emphasised that the Syrian government viewed the return of refugees as a priority.

“The Syrian government is not only ready, but enthusiastic about it,” he said.

“We hope that the conference on the return of refugees will produce important results,” al-Assad said in comments carried by Syrian state news agency SANA.

dpa/NAN

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