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Russia Calls for Lifting Sanctions on Syrian Regime

Russia Calls for Lifting Sanctions on Syrian Regime

Thursday, 30 May, 2019 - 11:00
Russian forces patrol damaged buildings in Douma on the outskirts of Damascus. AFP file photo
Moscow - Raed Jabr

Russia has urged the international community to support the withdrawal of US troops from Syria and launch a massive campaign to end US and European sanctions against Damascus.

The Russian Defense Ministry on Wednesday described the US presence in Syria as a “direct support for illegal gangs," saying it “impedes the restoration of peaceful life in Syria.”

“We [Russia and Syria] urge the United States and the European Union to lift anti-Syrian economic sanctions. Such restrictive measures do not contribute to solving urgent humanitarian and socio-economic problems in Syria,” said the statement, which was signed by the Russian-Syrian joint coordination headquarters.

In a separate statement, which was signed by heads of the Russian and Syrian coordination headquarters Mikhail Mizintsev and Hussein Makhlouf, the Russian Defense Ministry mentioned the problems hindering the return of refugees from the Rukban and al-Hol camps.

The Ministry said the situation in the two camps that are located in US-controlled territories in Syria remains “critical.”

“The illegal US military presence in the so-called security zone around al-Tanf continues to be the main factor of instability in the southern part of Syria and the cause of the plight of Rukban residents,” warned the statement.

To support its claims, the Ministry published testimonies of the doctors of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, saying that half of the Syrian citizens who managed to leave the camp are diagnosed with advanced chronic diseases.

“Adults have tuberculosis and skin diseases. Many suffer from muscle dystrophy, developed from hunger. Children mainly have vitamin deficiency and intestinal and viral infections.”

Although Russia and Syria have repeatedly declared the opening of corridors for civilians to safely leave Rukban camp, these initiatives have not received a broad response, compelling Moscow to admit lack of cooperation by the camp’s residents.

Moscow has blamed Washington for the situation, saying the US had turned a blind eye to militia practices preventing people from leaving the camp and confiscating food and humanitarian aid transferred to the camp.

Russian figures estimate about 30,000 Syrians continue to live in inhumane and degrading conditions over their inability to buy their freedoms from militants controlling the camp.

Moscow earlier said that Washington refused to attend tripartite consultations involving Jordan to settle the issue of the camp, while the United States accused Russia of blocking the entry of humanitarian aid.

The Ministry noted that the situation is even worse in al-Hol camp in the territory controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces in al-Hasakah province.

“More than 73,000 people are living in terrifying conditions in al-Hol.”

In other news, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexey Krivoruchko announced that the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces will get 20 Su-35S fighter jets of the 4++ generation by the end of 2020.

"The plant is following the plan with Su-35 manufacturing, and we expect to get several aircraft even ahead of time this year. In accordance with the current contract, we expect another 20 Su-35S fighter jets this year and next year," Krivoruchko was quoted as saying by TASS.

Krivoruchko noted that the aircraft plant works on modernizing this type of fighter jets, including on the basis of the Syrian combat experience. “In particular, next modernized versions of Su-35S will be able to use all types of air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles.”

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