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Over 1.7 mln Syrian refugees to return to their homes in near future

July 20, 16:50 UTC+3 MOSCOW

According to the Russian general, more than 6,900,000 people have left Syria since 2011

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© AP Photo/Bilal Hussein

MOSCOW, July 20. /TASS/. More than 1.7 mln Syrian refugees are expected to return to their homes in the near future, Head of the Russian National Defense Management Center Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev said on Friday.

"According to preliminary estimates, more than 1.7 mln refugees may return to their places of residence in the near future," he said at the founding open-door meeting of the Joint Coordination Center set up by the Defense and Foreign Ministries to manage the return of Syrian refugees.

"As many as 76 settlements least affected by hostilities may accommodate 336,500 people, first and foremost, those returning from Lebanon and Jordan," Mizintsev pointed out.

According to the Russian general, more than 6,900,000 people have left Syria since 2011, 45 countries are currently hosting the majority of them. "Most refugees are residing in Syria’s neighboring countries - Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq," Mizintsev noted.

Russia's proposals on refugees’ return to Syria

Russia has submitted to the United States a list of steps on how organize the refugees’ return in Syria in line with the Helsinki agreements of the Russian and US presidents, according to Mizintsev.

The US considers the Russia-drafted proposals for Syria’s infrastructure rebuilding, he added.

"Agreements achieved by the Russian and US presidents at their summit in Helsinki have helped to make headway in that field, since taking them into account, [we] submitted detailed proposals to the US side for organization of the work on refugees’ return to pre-war residence," he said.

"We suggested setting up a joint group to fund the restoration of Syria’s infrastructure," he said. "The proposals submitted by Russia are being considered by the US side."

According to the general, "a package of proposals is as follows: a joint plan should be drawn up on refugees’ return to places of their residence before the conflict; Syrian citizens should be urgently returned from Lebanon and Jordan; a Russia-US-Jordan group should be set up on the basis of the Amman monitoring center; and a similar group should be formed in Lebanon."

Headquarters’ meeting

On Friday, the Russian Defense and Foreign Ministries held an open session of their joint coordination center for refugees’ return to Syria.

According to Mizintsev, "at present, the Syrian government forces supported by the Russian Aerospace Force’s group are retaking the country’s territory from the remaining terrorist groups."

"The Syrian government’s efforts, supported by Russia, help peaceful life to come back to liberated areas and the infrastructure to be rebuilt," he said adding "units of the Russian military police assist local authorities in ensuring security, and law and order."

In the areas, which had been earlier controlled by rebel groups, prices of food and medicines have plunged and residents have access to medical services.

"In these conditions, the return of refugees and internally displaces persons to places of their residence and temporary accommodation is becoming a top priority to set peaceful life back on track and to rebuild the country as soon as possible," the general concluded.

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