Russia leads call for international aid to rebuild Syria

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Senior Russian military officials on Wednesday called for the United Nations and other international organisations to help rebuild Syrian territory recaptured by government forces, in order to consolidate the “successes” of the military campaign.

“To completely restore the areas that were damaged by military action against terrorist groups in Syria, and the economy of Syria as a whole, the help of all the international community is needed,” senior military officer Sergei Rudskoi said at a Moscow briefing.

“We call on the UN and other international organisations to get involved in this process,” Rudskoi said.

Russia in 2015 launched a military intervention in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the conflict that has now lasted seven years and cost over 350 000 lives.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned while meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday that Syria needed aid to ensure that refugees return home from Europe.

“We need to depoliticise the process of humanitarian aid and restoration of the Syrian economy,” Putin said at a joint press conference with Merkel.

“If Europeans want people to go back to their homes from Europe, they need to remove restrictions on help to Syria that are incomprehensible to us, at least in the territories under control of the Syrian government.”

Rudskoi on Wednesday hailed the “significant successes” of Syrian government troops with the support of Russian forces in “liberating key areas of Syria from the remnants of terrorist groups”.

Currently “all the conditions have been created to restore Syria as a single, undivided state. But to achieve this aim, not only Russia needs to make efforts, but also the other members of the international community,” Rudskoi said.

Some 6.1 million people are now internally displaced in Syria, more than five million have fled the country and 13 million including six million children are in need of aid, according to the UN.

The UN says that $9 billion is needed this year to help those in need inside Syria and living as refugees in neighbouring countries, but international donors in April pledged only $4.4 billion at a conference in Brussels.