08/29/2018, 09.53
SYRIA - RUSSIA
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Syria ready for the return of one million refugees, Russian minister says

Russia’s Defence Minister notes that reconstruction “is ongoing”, and “security points [. . .] can begin accepting refugees”. The UN special envoy for Syria has scheduled a meeting to discuss Syria’s constitutional issues.

 

Damascus (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Syria is ready for the return of a million refugees, thanks to an improved situation on the ground and the reconstruction work started in collaboration with Moscow.

"[M]ore than one million people have returned home," Sergei Shoigu is quoted as saying by Russian news agencies. And "Now every opportunity has been created for the return of roughly one million (more) refugees," he told journalists,” he added.

The exodus of millions of desperate people, who sought refuge in the region (Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan), Europe, North America and Australia, is one of the most serious consequences of the war that has torn Syria apart for seven bloody years.

Things have apparently improved on the ground and this has favoured the return of some refugees. In this respect, "Huge infrastructure reconstruction work is ongoing, the rebuilding of transport routes and security points so that Syria can begin accepting refugees,” Shoigu said.

Russia is one of Syria’s key allies along with Iran. Its military intervention against jihadist groups and extremist militias proved essential for the victory of Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. At present, only Idlib province remains in rebel hands.

For Russia’s Defence Minister, as the situation gets better, the country could move towards a slow but gradual stabilisation.

Meanwhile, efforts to breath new life in the peace process continue. Following a three-way meeting between Russia, Turkey and Iran, a UN-sponsored summit is set for 14 September centred, among other things, on constitutional issues.

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, who will meet with senior Western and Mideast representatives, will coordinate the work.

The meeting will focus on "the way ahead on the political process" for Syria in order to set up a “constitutional committee", UN spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci said.

The latter should be in place before world leaders meet at the General Assembly in New York in late September.

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