20 Jul 2018 17:48

Russian Foreign Ministry requests 45 countries to provide exact figures on Syrian refugees

MOSCOW. July 20 (Interfax) - The Russian Foreign Ministry has made every effort to obtain exact figures on Syrian refugees in various countries as soon as possible, Russian Foreign Ministry representative Andrei Panov said.

"We make efforts to obtain exact figures on the number of Syrian refugees in the countries, where they are staying. At that we proceed from the statistics of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees," Panov told reporters on Friday.

Necessary requests were sent to the embassies of 45 countries, where, according to the UN, Syrian refugees are staying, he said.

"Based on the replies received so far, the conclusion can be made that the Office's figures are in general correct and fully comply with the data from the receiving states in terms of the European Union," Panov said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry uses all of its information opportunities to inform its official partners, the Russian and international communities "about Russia's approaches to the prompt start of a safe and voluntary return of Syrian refugees and temporary displaced persons," he said.

In addition, Russian diplomatic representatives "closely cooperate with the legitimate government of the Syrian Arab Republic in launching the return process" in coordination with the military.

In mid-July, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees published a report that over 68 million people around the world were forced to leave their homes due to armed conflicts, violence, and persecution in 2017. The report estimated the number of refugees from Syria as 6.3 million people.

The Russian Defense Ministry, in turn, said on Friday that over 6.9 million Syrian residents have left the country since the beginning of the armed conflict in 2011.