Russia confirms proposed Syria cooperation with US on refugees

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Russia’s Defense Ministry confirmed on Saturday that it had proposed cooperating with the United States on Syrian refugees and de-mining in a letter sent to the top US general in July, Interfax news agency reported.

The proposals on refugees concerned a refugee camp in Rukban.

In the letter, Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian military’s General Staff, said Moscow was ready to discuss with Damascus safety guarantees for refugees stranded at Rukban, as well as creating conditions for their return home.

“A proposal was also made to coordinate humanitarian de-mining, including in Raqqa, and other priority humanitarian issues,” the Russian ministry said.

Rukban lies within a 55 km so-called de-confliction zone set up by the United States to ensure the safety of its garrison close to the Iraqi-Syrian border.

Reuters reported the letter on Friday, citing a U.S. government memo.

On July, 20, Russia’s Defense Ministry said it had sent a proposal to Washington to jointly organize the return home of Syrian refugees after agreements reached by President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump.

Trump and Putin met at a summit in Helsinki on July, 17, although it is not known what they discussed at their one-on-one meeting back then.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said it had sent Washington a proposal for drawing up a joint action plan to bring Syrian refugees back to the places they lived before the war broke out in 2011. READ MORE