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Defense minister suggests setting up commission for Syria's Raqqa in letter to UN envoy
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has proposed setting up an international commission to evaluate humanitarian situation in Syria's Raqqa in a note to UN envoy on Syria, Staffan de Mistura.
The document, transferred via diplomatic channels, suggests "opening humanitarian corridors from Al-Tanf and Rukban, and establishing an international commission to evaluate the humanitarian situation in Raqqa."
It also describes "a complex of measures being carried out on an instruction from the Russian president by the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties.
According to the documents, 'humanitarian pauses' were being held near the settlements of Duma and Arbil to enable the evacuation of civilians from Eastern Ghouta. "During this period, the Syrian government troops will stop their strikes on terrorists," the statement reads.
In addition, a humanitarian corridor for civilians was prepared near the settlement of Al-Wafideen.
On Tuesday, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov described the situation in Raqqa as a humanitarian crisis, which "is being ignored by 'liberators' from the US-led coalition." Air strikes have destroyed more than 80% of buildings in the city, while residential areas have been cut off water and electricity supplies, he said. According to him, around 40,000 people currently remain in Raqqa, which used to be home to more than 200,000 citizens before the US-led coalition's offensive.
According to the official, up to 60,000 refugees are forcibly held by militant groups in the Al-Rukban camp located in the US-controlled zone surrounding the Al Tanf base.
[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 01Mar18]
War in Syria
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