Russian-Syrian Joint Statement on Refugees and IDPs

Joint statement by Joint Coordination Committees of the Russian Federation and the Syrian Arab Republic on the problems of the repatriation of the Syrian refugees and IDPs

A regular joint meeting of the Joint Coordination Committees of the Russian Federation and the Syrian Arab Republic was held in Damascus on July 26, 2021 to assist the Syrian citizens in a safe, respectful and voluntary return to their homeland with the participation of the representatives of the relevant UN departments and the international humanitarian organizations.

During the event the responsible officials and leading experts of the Joint Coordination Committees discussed the implementation of the decisions adopted on November 11-12, 2020 in the framework of the International Conference on facilitation of the return of the refugees to Syria, as well as further steps to assist in the restoration of peaceful life in the country.

At the meeting it was confirmed that the return of the Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes remains a national priority for the Syrian leadership. The Syrian government is making every effort to rebuild the country’s most important infrastructure and to create new jobs for the returning Syrians in order to intensify the process.

To date, more than two million two hundred seventy nine thousand (2,279,604) Syrian citizens returned to their homes, including more than one million three hundred sixty two thousand (1,362,675) internally displaced persons and more than nine hundred and sixteen thousand (916,929) refugees from abroad.

The returning Syrians are provided with free food, medical care and other necessary assistance.

In the shortest possible time, the families are delivered to the areas of their selected residence. The employable citizens are provided with jobs, while the children enter to the educational institutions.

The Russian Federation observing all the international standards and the agreements reached with the Syrian party, continues to provide a comprehensive assistance in restoring peaceful life in Syria and dealing with the urgent humanitarian challenges.

The interaction between the Russian and the Syrian ministries and departments in various areas is actively increasing in the framework of the implementation of the decisions made in 2020 at the International Conference on the return of the refugees and the restoration of Syria, as well as in order to develop the interstate relations.

The working visit of the Russian interagency delegation to the Syrian Arab Republic from July 24, 2021 was a significant outcome of the proactive approach of the Russian state authorities and organizations. At the visit 1 million tests for the laboratory diagnosis of a new coronavirus infection, 250, 000 doses of the Sputnik Light vector vaccine, as well as over 160 tons of other logistic items, including the medicine and the equipment for the health care institutions, were donated to the Syrian people as a gratuitous humanitarian aid.

A start of the critically important work to study and save the world cultural heritage sites on the Syrian territory, including such monuments of the world culture as Palmyra and ancient Christian temples of the pre-Islamic era, due to the efforts of the representatives of the Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy for Sciences and the Department of Antiquities and Museums of Syria.

The Russian and the Syrian departments signed 15 agreements and memorandums on key areas of the Russian-Syrian cooperation. In the near future, it is planned to sign 10 more agreements in the areas of legal assistance, network security, customs union, trade and economic cooperation and educational activities, which will definitely start the new prospects for the development of the mutually beneficial relations and strengthening partnership at the interagency and interstate levels for the benefit of prosperity of Syria and its people.

It should be noted that the indicators presented were achieved in conditions of the ongoing opposition to the return of the refugees to Syria from the Western states, which continue to have the destructive approach and to convince the world community that the conditions for the return of the refugees have not yet been created in Syria. As a result, many Syrians are postponing their return to their homeland.

At the joint meeting of the Joint Coordination Committees, the major challenges standing in the way of the Syrian people to a normal life were identified.

Firstly, this is the approach of the Western states that tends to maintain the sanction pressure on Damascus. The annually extended restrictive measures against Syria slow down the post-war reconstruction of the country the population of which cannot meet its basic needs.

Secondly, it is the illegitimate presence of the foreign military forces on the territory of Syria, which prevents the stabilization of the situation in the occupied areas.

Thirdly, this is an open politicization of the purely humanitarian issues, implying the discrimination of the areas controlled by Damascus in terms of providing the humanitarian assistance. The refusal to assist in the restoration of the social infrastructure and the return of the refugees. The “whitewashing” of the terrorists; the desire to maintain and expand a cross-border mechanism that violates the international humanitarian law and the guidelines provided for in the UN General Assembly resolution 46/182.

These challenges are an obstacle to the return of the Syrian citizens to their homeland and the restoration of peaceful life in the country.

We are confident that the achieving the long-term security and stability not only in Syria, but throughout the entire Middle East region, could be achieved only on the basis of maintaining sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic. We also consider it extremely important to stop politicizing the rendering the humanitarian assistance to Syria and remove the sanctions that harm the Syrian economy and deprive the ordinary Syrians of prosperity.

We call on the entire world community, the humanitarian departments of the United Nations, as well as the states that adopted the Syrian refugees on its territory, to pro-actively participate in the returning of the Syrian citizens to their homeland and in the productive humanitarian assistance to the Syrian Arab Republic.

– Head of the Russian Joint Coordination Committee on Repatriation of the Syrian Refugees – Head of the National Center for the Defense Control of the Russian Federation M.Mizintsev

– Head of the Syrian Joint Coordination Committee on Repatriation of the Syrian Refugees – the Minister for the Local Administration and Environment of the Syrian Arab Republic H.Makhlouf

Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation