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Russian Defense Ministry blasts USAID's approach to reconstruction of Raqqa

The Russian Defense Ministry stresses Syria’s Raqqa remains in ruins

MOSCOW, January 25. /TASS/. Syria’s Raqqa remains in ruins and bearing in mind the Western countries’ approach to its reconstruction, local residents will have to look for a place to live elsewhere, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The Defense Ministry recalled that the chief of the US Agency for International Development USAID, Mark Green, on January 22 visited Raqqa, ruined by coalition bombardments. The plans he declared for the city’s reconstruction and other statements cannot but cause surprise, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

"The current approaches and, what is still more important, the pace of the Western countries in rebuilding Raqqa as they are, the city will remain ruined. And all of its current residents will have to look for some other place to live," the commentary runs.

At first Mr. Green said that the scale of destruction in Raqqa he saw everywhere was unspeakable, but when it came to providing real assistance to the population he was quick to backtrack to declare that the mission of USAID was stabilization and not reconstruction.

"Incidentally, Mr. Green understands stabilization not as provision of meals and essentials to Raqqa’s residents, who remain without homes and food, something Russia has been doing all the way in Aleppo and other cities, but only as repairs of water and power supply facilities," the Russian Defense Ministry said.

It added that USAID said nothing to explain of what value electricity and power supply would be to the hundreds of thousands of Raqqa residents and refugees who are without a roof overhead.

"Moreover, USAID plans to fund the proposed measures not from the US budget, but by means of causing pressure on the allies to make them provide aid," the Defense Ministry said.

Raqqa was the main citadel of the terrorist organization Islamic State (outlawed in Russia) in Syria. On October 17, 2017 Arab and Kurdish forces affiliated with the coalition Syrian Democratic Forces gained control of the city. Russia’s UN envoy Vasily Nebenzya said after a UN Security Council meeting behind closed doors on January 10 the US-led coalition must assume the responsibility for the reconstruction of Raqqa, which had been razed to the ground during the operation against the terrorists.