22 Oct 2017 11:22

U.S.-led coalition selective in providing humanitarian assistance to Syria - Russian Defense Ministry

MOSCOW. Oct 22 (Interfax) - The United States and its allies are selective in providing humanitarian assistance to Syrians and are dividing them into "bad" and "good" ones, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Maj. Igor Konashenkov said on Sunday.

"Russia has been repeatedly asking the U.S. and European capitals to send humanitarian assistance to war-affected Syrian residents over recent years. Moreover, [we] prepared the list of populated localities requiring this assistance in the first place without dividing Syrians into 'bad' and 'good' ones," he said.

"There has been the same answer from Washington, Berlin, Paris, and London each time: we cannot and we won't," Konashenkov said.

At the same time, Western countries are selective in it, they are hurrying to provide assistance to Raqqa, which has been almost wiped off the face of the earth by the U.S.-led coalition's air strikes, he said.

"Raqqa was still warm from the international coalition's aerial bombings, when highest authorities' statements regarding the urgent provision of dozens of millions dollars and euros to Raqqa came pouring down from Washington, Paris, and Berlin. These millions should be allegedly devoted to the restoration of peaceful life in the city. One should welcome such kind-heartedness, but there are some questions," he said.

"U.S. administration representatives' bold statements on 'outstanding victory' over ISIL [terrorist group banned in Russia] in Raqqa are bewildering," Konashenkov said.

"First the Pentagon spokesperson made a surprising report that the U.S. and the coalition had 'liberated from ISIL militants' 87% of territory they occupied in Syria and Iraq. Then White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said that 'with the [...] fall of Mosul in June, and now with ISIS nearly eradicated from Raqqa, it is clear that ISIS's so-called caliphate is crumbling across Iraq and Syria.' And finally, the U.S. Department of State documented the success yesterday, alleging that 'the liberation of Raqqa is a critical milestone in the global fight against ISIS,'" he said.

"According to Washington, ISIL controlled in Syria only Raqqa, a provincial city with the population of some 200,000 people before the war and no more than 45,000 people by the beginning of the coalition's five-month operation to liberate it. For comparison, over 500,000 people had lived in Deir ez-Zor and its extensive suburbs by the Euphrates River before the war, and the Syrian army liberated all this territory with support from the Russian Aerospace Forces in ten days," Konashenkov said.

Thousands of civilians are returning to Deir ez-Zor every day, peaceful life is being restored in the city, he said.