MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –
A joint meeting of the interdepartmental coordination headquarters of Russia and Syria on the return of refugees to their places of permanent residence was held in the format of a videoconference between Moscow and Damascus with the invitation of representatives of the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations performing tasks in Syria.
Speech by the Deputy Minister of Defense
Of the Russian Federation, Colonel-General G.V. Zhidko
Today’s joint meeting of the interdepartmental coordination headquarters of Russia and Syria on the return of refugees and the reconstruction of the Syrian Arab Republic is of the utmost importance in terms of humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people amid the dire socio-economic situation in the country caused by the aggressive policy and unprecedented inhuman sanctions from the West, as well as pandemic coronavirus infection.
In the current situation, the Syrian leadership is doing everything possible and impossible, attracting any help from foreign friends to maintain decent living conditions for citizens and implement state guarantees.
Our goal, in spite of all the obstacles posed by the United States and its satellites, is to give a positive impetus to the revival of the Syrian economy both through the provision of effective humanitarian aid and through direct interaction of relevant government agencies, organizations and business. Today, the platform of the interdepartmental coordination headquarters of Russia and Syria is exactly the tool that allows us to develop and increase efforts in these areas of activity.
At the same time, the restoration of the Syrian economy and infrastructure with active humanitarian assistance to the population most in need are the main tasks that must be completed in order to defend the gains achieved in the joint armed struggle against terrorism.
I am sure that we will implement everything we have conceived and on the eve of the bright holiday of the New 2022 I want to wish everyone a peaceful sky, good health and great success in our joint work!
Speech by the head of the interdepartmental coordination headquarters
Of the Russian Federation on the return of refugees to the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic
– Head of the National Center for Defense Management of the Russian Federation
Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev
Over the past year, thanks to the concerted actions of Russia and Syria, it was possible to solve a whole range of tasks within the framework of the initiative for a dignified, safe and voluntary return of the Syrians to their homeland.
More and more foreign countries and international organizations recognize the need for an early restoration of peaceful life on Syrian soil as an essential condition for stabilizing the situation in the entire Middle East and solving the problem of refugee migration to European countries. The number of participants in the revival of Syria, helping with real deeds in rebuilding the country from devastation and returning refugees to their homes, increased significantly in 2021.
The participation of representatives of the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent allows them to obtain objective information on the measures taken to create dignified conditions for the return of Syrians home.
On behalf of the interagency coordination headquarters of Russia and Syria, I would like to welcome the new Commissioner for the Rights of the Child under the President of the Russian Federation, Maria Alekseevna Lvova-Belova, who is present in this hall today and will speak on the issue of the return of children of Russian citizens who have become victims of the armed conflict in Syria.
Finding children in camps teeming with terrorists and adapting children of war to a peaceful life is a truly important humanitarian, social and moral problem on a global scale. To solve it, it is necessary to consolidate the efforts of the entire world community, to involve international organizations and non-state structures.
Maria Alekseevna, your work is very important for the Russian Federation as a whole, that is why the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation, General of the Army Sergei Kuzhugetovich Shoigu, today, on December 23, signed an order to award you with the medal “For Strengthening the Military Commonwealth.” I have the great honor to fulfill this historic mission and present this medal to you right now.
Maria Alekseevna, I wish you success in your difficult work in this, of course, very important area.
Dear comrades, caring for the younger generation, for our children, has always been the highest priority in our work. I assure you that efforts in this area will only increase.
Separately, I would like to express my gratitude to the Syrian government for the joint fruitful work, which made it possible to free most of the Syrian territory from terrorists and to reduce the level of violence in the country by an order of magnitude.
We all see positive dynamics in the return of refugees and in the process of the country’s socio-economic reconstruction.
As a result of the efforts undertaken by the Syrian leadership, peaceful life is being actively established in the regions liberated from terrorists. Work is gaining momentum to rebuild infrastructure and destroyed agriculture. Projects are being implemented to revive the road infrastructure and build power lines, new residential buildings, and open schools and hospitals. Particular attention is paid to the modernization of water supply systems, the commissioning of pumping stations and the technical re-equipment of artesian wells to meet the needs of the population for drinking water.
All this contributes to the return to their homes of Syrian citizens from other countries and temporarily displaced persons.
Currently, many Syrians who have come to their relatives to celebrate Christmas and the New Year’s holiday beloved by all Syrians with their families can see with their own eyes that the restoration of the country is really in full swing, and a peaceful life has ceased to be a pipe dream.
As a result, many of them decide to stay at home and make a personal contribution to the revival of their country. Most Syrians feel great regret that they did not return home earlier, and the main reason for this is blatant lies about the situation in Syria, which are actively spreading abroad.
The high efficiency of the measures taken by the Syrian government is also confirmed by statistics on the number of returning citizens to their homeland.
To date, since September 2015, thanks to the effective work of the interagency coordination headquarters, carried out on the basis of the basic principles of the United Nations, more than two million three hundred and thirty-eight thousand Syrian citizens have returned to their homes, of which over one million three hundred and seventy four thousand are internally displaced persons. and more than 963 thousand from other countries.
As part of the development of interstate cooperation and the provision of comprehensive humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people, in July and November 2021, the Russian Federation organized working visits of Russian interagency delegations to Syria. They were attended by representatives of 22 ministries and departments, 23 constituent entities and 18 organizations of the Russian Federation, which confirms the attention paid by the Russian state to the issues of the reconstruction of Syria.
This format contributed to building up interaction between Russian and Syrian ministries and departments in various fields. Currently, bilateral cooperation between our countries is expanding in such areas as: education and medicine, culture and infrastructure restoration, joint trade, economic and scientific and technical projects. This year alone, 10 important agreements were concluded between the Russian and Syrian departments, designed for the long term.
Thanks to the active position of the federal executive authorities, constituent entities and organizations of the Russian Federation, 1,775 tons of humanitarian aid was delivered to Syria in 2021, which included electric generators, medical equipment, medicines, food, school supplies, clothing and other essential items. During this time, 183 humanitarian actions were carried out, which covered almost the entire territory of Syria.
Knowing how much attention the Syrian government pays to combating the spread of coronavirus infection in the country, the Russian leadership in July of this year made and implemented a decision to supply, free of charge, 250 thousand doses of the Russian vaccine and 1 million test systems, as well as other drugs for fight against coronavirus infection.
To intensify this work, it was decided to implement a large-scale project to localize the production of Russian vaccines in Syria. An appropriate working group has already been created as part of the Interdepartmental Coordination Headquarters of Russia and has begun to fulfill its tasks. Without a doubt, together with our Syrian friends, we will successfully complete this task.
The most important area is the preservation of cultural heritage sites.
Considering the tragic events of autumn 2015, when the whole world was covered by footage of the explosion of the Triumphal Arch of Palmyra, staged by terrorists, a large-scale project was initiated in 2021 to restore the symbol of the ancient city.
The project is being implemented with the leading role of the All-Russian public organization “Russian Geographical Society”, with the participation of the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Center for Rescue Archeology of the Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences, as well as other scientific and public organizations. All work is planned to be carried out with the involvement of Syrian colleagues and the local population.
The symbolic start of the project was a concert held on December 15 with the assistance of the Russian Geographical Society and the Russian Ministry of Defense by the world star of classical music, harpist Alexander Boldachev, on the ruins of the Arch in Palmyra.
Summing up a brief summary of the work done, we can say that the concerted efforts of Russian and Syrian specialists have solved a large set of tasks to return Syria to a full-fledged peaceful life.
At the same time, along with positive results, there are also problems that the Syrian government has to face every day. In these conditions, the position chosen by the United States and its allies, which aggravates the already difficult situation of the post-war country, is perplexing.
The unprecedented sanctions pressure from the United States and its European allies, as well as the illegitimate presence of foreign military contingents in Syria, have a negative impact on the socio-economic and humanitarian situation in the country. And the political conditions put forward by them, allegedly necessary for expanding humanitarian assistance and building up work on early recovery, impede the establishment of a peaceful life in the republic and contradict United Nations Security Council Resolution No. 2585.
In areas controlled by Western countries, a critical humanitarian situation remains. The most disastrous situation is developing in the Rukban refugee camp. The majority of its population is poor, food insecure, unable to educate children and receive adequate medical care.
Instead of fulfilling its obligations to ensure the safety of the United Nations representatives in the framework of the operation to evacuate the remaining civilians of Rukban, the American side continues to insist on the need to deliver humanitarian aid to the camp, in every possible way covering and justifying the arbitrariness committed by the US-controlled illegal armed formations.
Once again, we draw attention to the quite obvious fact that humanitarian supplies will not reach the civilian population of Rukban. As in previous times, the Magavir al-Saura militants and members of other armed groups present in the camp will simply appropriate them.
The “unprecedented suffering” of the inhabitants of this death camp is of no concern to the United States. The population of “Rukban” continues to be used exclusively as an excuse to feed the militants controlled by the Americans.
A security crisis has developed in the Al-Khol refugee camp in the US-controlled territory of Trans-Euphrates. There is a tendency towards radicalization among its inhabitants. This year alone, 84 cases of murder and 23 attempts on the lives of camp residents were recorded.
All this testifies to the actual inability of Washington to take control of the situation, to ensure order and security in the regions of the country under its control.
So far, there has been no progress in ensuring the delivery of humanitarian supplies across the contact lines to meet the needs of the Syrians, including to the Idlib de-escalation zone, which is contrary to UN Security Council Resolution 2585. The UN-sponsored humanitarian actions agreed by the Syrian government for the population of Idlib are constantly being moved, and the cargo of the August convoy delivered by the world organization to Sarmada was still in the warehouse as of early December. And this is against the background of the fact that over the past four months, about 3 thousand trucks entered the de-escalation zone along the “cross-border corridor”. Such an obvious priority of the cross-border mechanism on the part of the Western countries does not correspond to the spirit and letter of the resolution adopted by the UN Security Council.
We call for an end to the politicization of humanitarian activities in the Syrian Arab Republic and not to ignore the importance of resolving the social problems of the population. It is necessary to exclude the use of a cross-border mechanism to supply fighters of terrorist organizations who profit from supplies.
We are confident that only the consolidation of the efforts of the entire international community in humanitarian assistance to Syria, as well as the lifting of illegal sanctions, can give a new impetus to the process of internal Syrian political settlement.
Closing remarks by Colonel-General M.E. Mizintsev
Dear comrades, thank you for your joint work and express my sincere gratitude to all the participants in our meeting for their active position in returning Syria to a full-fledged peaceful life. I wish all the members of the coordination headquarters of Russia and Syria every success in their professional activities, prosperity and family happiness!
New Year’s celebrations always awaken in our hearts the most beautiful, noblest impulses, hopes for the fulfillment of cherished desires. Undoubtedly, the Syrians, especially the Syrian children, dream that the peaceful sky above their heads, obtained at such a high price, will never be defiled by the dark aspirations of terrorists. And we – adults – must never forget how important it is for the innermost childhood dreams to come true.
Today, when the whole world is preparing to celebrate the New Year 2022, from the bottom of my heart I wish dear children good health, true friends, fulfillment of all cherished desires and many wonderful gifts on this bright holiday.
To make the celebration of the New Year brighter and more memorable, the Russian delegation that arrived in Syria brought with it more than 200 Christmas trees with beautiful toys and more than 23 thousand New Year gifts for Syrian children, as well as warm clothes and shoes for orphanages and monasteries raising orphans. The participants of the trip also took with them computers, televisions, textbooks, stationery kits, furniture and much more that is so necessary to ensure the educational process in Syrian schools. We hope that this will make the study more intense and interesting.
New Year’s performances with Russian Santa Claus have already been held for the children of the killed Syrian military, as well as humanitarian actions with the distribution of New Year’s gifts. Tomorrow, for the first time since 2011, with the blessing of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia and the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, there will be a New Year performance “Christmas Tree” for Orthodox Syrian children, and a sand fairy tale “Aladdin”.
As part of the humanitarian action “New Year’s Journey of Russian Santa Claus to Syrian Children”, humanitarian actions will be held on December 24-30 to transfer New Year’s kits to children in the cities of Aleppo, Deir ez-Zor, Der’a, Kamyshli, Latakia, Tartus, Hama and Essaweida …
Of course, we are not going to dwell on this, and in 2022 we plan to organize various cultural and educational programs for Syrian children. Most of the Russian regions have already expressed their readiness to host the younger generation from all the provinces of Syria and acquaint them with all the diversity of our large country.
Our children should be friends and support each other, in the future this will help multiply and strengthen friendly ties between the Syrian and Russian peoples. In this regard, as one of the areas of our joint work, I propose to consider the project “Children for Peace!”
The most colorful letters are proposed to be selected on a competitive basis in Russian regions and sent to Syria for transmission to Syrian schoolchildren. And I ask you, dear Syrian colleagues, to hold a similar event in Syria and send letters to Russia. The Russian Ministry of Defense takes over the organization of traffic between Russia and Syria. In the future, we will maintain correspondence between children of our countries on an ongoing basis.
Dear heads and deputy heads of the constituent entities of the Russian Federation, I ask you to support this initiative. This will serve as a good start for the development of Russian-Syrian cooperation and the implementation of promising joint projects.
And now I propose to move on to watching on the territory of Syria – festive performances of the Yar ensemble and the Zabava creative team, as well as the sand fairy tale The Nutcracker, and in Moscow – the New Year’s performance of Santa Claus.
Once again, I want to congratulate everyone on the upcoming New Year 2022. I wish you health and prosperity, your family and friends!
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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.