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Syria can’t handle refugee issue alone, global community needs to chip in — Putin

Vladimir Putin on December 11 issued order to pull out the Russian military group from Syria

MOSCOW, December 14. /TASS/. Moscow is ready to participate in global efforts aimed at resolving the issue of Syrian refugees, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at his annual news conference on Thursday.

"Efforts should definitely be made to resolve this issue. Syria cannot do that alone, as well as Russia. We are ready to take part in global efforts to achieve this goal," Putin noted.

In response to a question by a representative of Chechnya as to if volunteers could help resolve the issue of the Syrian refugees, Putin pointed out that "a man from Chechnya" was already engaged in those activities. "[Head of Chechnya Ramzan] Kadyrov has been making arrangements to bring children back from the region, which a right thing to do," the Russian leader said. "Well, thank you for your initiative, I don’t rule out that you will have an opportunity to work there in the future," he added.

Terrorists defeated

After terrorists have been defeated in Syria, a path opens for political settlement and restoration of peaceful life, Putin said at a reception dedicated to the Day of Heroes of the Motherland on Thursday.

"We are proud of those who defend Russia and our citizens’ security these days. The Russian military in Syria also acted courageously, accurately and professionally. They fulfilled their tasks. Together with the Syrian army they destroyed a major terrorist group," Putin said.

"And now a path is opening for political settlement of the Syrian conflict and the revival of the country to enable hundreds of thousands of people to return to peaceful life," the Russian leader said.

North Caucasus police in Syria 

Deployment of police officers from the North Caucasus to Syria was Vladimir Putin’s initiative, which was crowned with success.

"It was my initiative to send natives of the North Caucasus there as they are largely Sunni and the local Sunnis trust them. The authorities trust them too because they are Russian servicemen. It turned out well," Putin said.

"The guys were behaving bravely and were self-disciplined, what is crucial. They felt a burden of responsibility and did their duty honorably," the Russian leader added.

Putin's flight to Syria

Putin said his visit to Syria was planned in advance and flight safety was fully ensured by Russian pilots.

"The (flight) safety was ensured by our military servicemen, on the ground too, because experts know that the most dangerous moment is the landing of an aircraft, which could be the target for MANPADS (man-portable air defense systems - TASS)," he said.

"The pilots, as I saw, did not simply fly nearby. They descended below our plane during the landing. The combat planes’ nozzles heat up must stronger than the engines of civil aircraft. In actual fact, they covered our plane and then flew apart," the Russian president said.

"I’m grateful to them for this and I want them to know and hear this," Putin said.

Putin visited the Hmeymim airbase in Syria on December 11. Speaking before the Russian forces there, he gave an order to reduce the Russian task force in Syria.