International conference on return of Syrian refugees begins

QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) – On Monday, the Russian-Syrian joint meeting to follow up on the works of the international conference on the return of Syrian refugees began in the Conference Palace in the Syrian capital Damascus.

The meeting, which will last three days, will discuss measures taken by the Syrian government to create conditions for the return of Syrian refugees and “secure decent living conditions and a comfortable environment, in cooperation with Russia.”

The Russian president’s special envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev said, “the collective punishment of the Syrian people must end, just because they support the legitimate government.”

More than 2,200,000 thousand refugees from inside and outside Syria have returned, most of them from neighboring countries,” said the Director of the National Defense Management Center and Head of the Joint Ministerial Coordination Body in the Russian Federation Mikhail Mezentsev.

He stressed that Russia will continue to provide comprehensive aid for the restoration of a safe life in Syria.

Western countries “continue to take a hostile position, when they should help the legitimate government to return Syrians to their areas,” he referred.

“Western sanctions are hampering reconstruction in Syria, and they have caused food prices to rise and increased poverty in the country,” he pointed out.

However, the Syrian presidential elections, which President Bashar Assad won, “represent the end of a phase of the Syrian settlement process,” he stated.

“The illegitimate presence of foreign forces in Syria prevents the stability of the situations in the areas where they are deployed,” he clarified.

Assistant Syrian Foreign and Expatriates Minister Ayman Sousan stated that “tens of thousands of internally displaced persons have returned to their homes in their cities and villages,” and that thousands have returned from outside Syria since the international conference on return of refugees was held in November 2020 in Damascus.

Syrian Minister of Local Administration and Environment Hussein Makhlouf said that “work is continuing to facilitate the procedures for the return of refugees and IDPs.”

He pointed out that “the amnesty decrees issued by Assad reflect the sincere will to return the displaced, and since the establishment of the Syrian-Russian coordination body for the return of refugees, the number of IDP returnees has reached 2.5 million, and one million refugees have also returned.”