Russia urges UN to ramp up aid to Syrians

A woman who just fled Deir Ezzor talks on a mobile phone beside a truck with her belongings at a camp in Ain Issa, north of Raqqa.

:: Russia on Monday urged United Nations special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura to ramp up humanitarian aid, as Moscow said it would dispatch demining experts to the city of Deir Ezzor after regime gains.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu sent a letter to de Mistura in which he stressed the need for more humanitarian assistance in Syria in areas freed from “terrorists”.

“The document notes that government troops freed from terrorists a significant part of Syria with the help of Russia’s air force,” the defense ministry said.

“Conditions have been created for the revival of peaceful life.”

Shoigu singled out a “complicated situation” in refugee camps located in the border town of Al-Tanf and Uqayribat in Hama province, the ministry said, adding that Syrians needed more than 1,000 tonnes of food and more than 80 tonnes of medical supplies.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appears to be winning a six-year-long war against rebels and Islamic State militants as his army backed by Russian forces now controls the country’s main cities.

Over the past week, Syrian troops have made major advances in the east of the country, relieving two government-held enclaves in and around the city of Deir Ezzor that had been under siege by the Islamic State group since 2014.

The defense ministry said Monday a demining unit comprising more than 40 experts and special equipment had been sent to Syria, adding that they will be sent to Deir Ezzor “in the nearest future.”

All in all, 175 demining experts will be sent to Syria, Moscow said.

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