Russian aid arrives for Syrian refugees in Lebanon

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A Russian plane carrying about 26 tons of humanitarian aid for Syrian refugees arrived in Beirut on Wednesday (April 3), the first of several shipments scheduled to arrive this month, the Russian ambassador to Lebanon said.

''I would like to mention that among the aid there is food aid and household items and electric items and generators and necessary items, also on this occasion I would like to say again to confirm the position of Russia which is in favour of a political settlement for the Syrian conflict by ending the violence and holding dialogue between the authorities and the opposition,'' said Ambassador Alexander Zasypkin.

Around 400,000 Syrian refugees have fled to Lebanon since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011.

Lebanon says it is struggling to provide shelter and basic needs for them and has asked the international community for help.

Moscow has been a staunch ally of Damascus since the beginning of the uprising, shielding the Assad regime from sanctions at the United Nations Security Council.

In February, Russia said it was delivering military hardware and light weapons to the governments of Syria as it expands sales and maintains its footing in some of the world’s deadliest conflicts.

The head of Russia’s arms exporter Rosoboronexport, Anatoly Isaikin, said Russian deliveries to the Syrian regime included air defense systems but not the advanced Iskander missiles sought by Damascus.

Russia has been repeatedly condemned by Western and Arab nations for maintaining links to the Syrian government despite violence that UN estimates show has claimed more than 70,000 lives.