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Russia stepped into Syrian war to fight terrorist threat, says top brass

Russia's activities in Syria have been legal and are in line with the UN requirements, the expert stated

KUBINKA /Moscow Region/, October 7. /TASS/. Russia remained uninvolved in the Syrian conflict until Syria’s enemies engaged terrorist units in the fight against the legal government of the country, Deputy Defense Minister, Colonel-General Alexander Fomin, said in the opening remarks at the SWIRMO-2019 Senior Workshop on International Rules Governing Military Operations on Monday.

Russian military have been helping the Syrian authorities to remove a terrorist threat since September 30, 2015 on legal grounds and in line with the UN requirements, at the invitation of the Syrian government, the senior military officer reiterated.

"The Russian Federation had remained uninvolved in the conflict inside Syria until Syria’s enemies began engaging the resources of terrorist units to fight the legitimate government of the country," Fomin said.

In 2015, terrorists from the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia) controlled most of Syria, while over the past four years, the country’s government has regained control of almost the entire territory due to activity of the Syrian army supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces.

"About 90% of the Syrian population currently live on the territories under the control of the official Damascus," the deputy minister stressed.

Humanitarian tasks

This has made it possible to focus attention on issues of the political settlement of the Syrian crisis and on resolving the humanitarian tasks, including in cooperation with the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, the top brass said.

"As a result, conditions were created for the activity of the Syrian Constitutional Committee. Peace is restored, the Syrian citizens who fled their houses are returning to their homeland," Fomin stressed.

He noted that the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties had established direct contacts with the regional office of the ICRC in Damascus.

"We are cooperating with the ICRC in the delivery of humanitarian cargoes, in providing medical assistance and in the return of Syrian refugees and temporarily displaced persons to the places where they lived before the war," he went on to say.

"ICRC representatives play an important role in the process of prisoner release by the opposing parties, in the search for the missing people and the handover of the dead to their relatives," Fomin added.

The Russian reconciliation center continues to fulfill the tasks assigned to them after the completion of the military campaign in Syria. They regularly travel around the country's liberated areas to assess the humanitarian situation. The main efforts of the Russian military are now focused on aiding the refugees who are returning back to their homes and evacuating civilians from the war-torn country’s de-escalation zones.