Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on 26 June told UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths that the return of refugees to Syria should not be “politicized” but instead kept “within a humanitarian and moral framework.”
Assad also stressed that the safe return of millions of refugees remains a top priority for Damascus but added progress on this issue is contingent on the “provision of necessary resources for the reconstruction of damaged infrastructure” in war-torn Syria.
For his part, Griffiths outlined an international plan of action for supporting early recovery projects in Syria and mobilizing efforts to secure the refugees’ return.
The UN official also held talks with Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad and expressed his thanks for Syria’s cooperation with UN agencies to facilitate humanitarian and relief operations in the country.
According to UN figures, over 12 million Syrians have been forcibly displaced as a result of the US-backed war that has raged in the country for the past 12 years.
Nonetheless, over recent years refugees have started trickling back into Syria after Damascus – with the cooperation of Russia and Iran – pushed back against extremist armed groups financed by the US and several Gulf nations.
On Monday, Assad also met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin to discuss bilateral relations, counterterrorism efforts, and initiatives to facilitate the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland.
Vershinin, for his part, emphasized Moscow’s “unwavering support for Syria to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Source : Thecradle