Russia’s efforts in Syria: we invite all to join (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Russia continues its efforts in Syria aimed at normalizing the humanitarian situation and eliminating terrorism in the region. Along with fighting ISIS, al-Nusra Front in all its reincarnations, and other terrorist organizations, recognized as such by the UN Security Council, Russia also contributes to establishing conditions to secure the ceasefire between the Syrian government troops and the opposition. Starting from June, Russia has supported the signing of agreements on ceasefire with representatives of 508 towns and villages. Total number of reconciled inhabited areas has reached an unprecedented number of 2,043.

To end violence in Syria, Russia together with Turkey and Iran have launched in Astana an initiative to set up de-escalation zones throughout the country. On July 7, Russia, the USA and Jordan agreed on establishing the first such zone in southwest Syria. Recently the final details have been worked out on how to coordinate the functioning of this zone, including monitoring of cessation of hostilities and ensuring an unimpeded access of humanitarian aid and border crossing by civilians in either direction.

It is necessary to step up humanitarian work in Syria, both through the UN, and on a bilateral basis aimed at improving the plight of the population and supporting the process of national reconciliation. Russia is doing its part. More than 190 humanitarian missions providing 159 tons of food to civilians have been carried out recently. Within last two months, Russian transport aircraft delivered 475 tons of food to the besieged town of  Deir ez-Zor. Additional opportunities are opening up with the deployment of checkpoints and observation posts along the agreed sections of the contact line of the southwestern de-escalation zone and the one in Eastern Ghouta.

Russia actively cooperates with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and all the participants in the settlement process represented by the nations of the region who are willing to help find a sustainable and peaceful solution. Clearly, the key is to set up direct dialogue between the Syrian Government and the armed opposition. We expect our Western colleagues to make a real contribution to these efforts to bring lasting peace to Syria.