NOVO-OGARYOVO, November 9. /TASS/. The work on a settlement in Syria conducted by Russia along with Iran and Turkey is showing its effectiveness, the hotbed of international terrorism there has actually been eliminated, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday during a meeting with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad held via video conferencing.
Putin stressed that Russia continued to make vigorous efforts "to promote a long-term settlement in the Syrian republic, restore its sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity."
"In this regard, one cannot fail to note the effective work done within the framework of the Astana format involving our partners from Iran and Turkey," the Russian leader stated. "We have achieved a lot through joint efforts: the hotbed of international terrorism in Syria has been actually eliminated."
According to Putin, the level of violence in Syria has dropped substantially, people are returning to civilian life and the UN-sponsored inclusive political process is underway.
More than 6.5 mln refugees remain outside Syria whereas most of them could take part in the country’s reconstruction, Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad.
According to Putin, "Syria’s post-conflict reconstruction is highly important at this stage, which particularly concerns the return of Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons." "Unfortunately, over 6.5 million refugees remain outside Syria," Putin noted, adding: "Most of them are able-bodied people who could and should engage in the reconstruction of their country."
The Russian president pointed out that the return of refugees was in the interests of host countries, first and foremost, Syria’s neighbors who had been facing a heavy burden. "They have to bear considerable expenses, providing temporary accommodation and basic necessities to Syrians," Putin explained. "Let alone the fact that young refugees oftentimes fall under the influence of radicals, join militant ranks and can pose a threat to host countries," he added.
The Russian president went on to say that back in 2018, he had called on the international community to support the process of refugee return initiated by the Syrian president and government. "Back then, you and I agreed to boost cooperation in this field, in particular, inter-agency coordination centers were established," Putin said.
He stressed that steps to improve working and living conditions and remove political, social and psychological obstacles were being taken in Syria. "Over 850,000 Syrian citizens have returned from abroad, and more than 1.3 mln people have returned to the places of their permanent residence inside the country," Putin emphasized, adding that the scale of Syria’s humanitarian disaster remained significant.