RT | Dr Alexander Yakovenko: 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 ceasefires with representatives of 508 towns and villages. The total number of reconciled inhabited areas has reached an unprecedented 2,043.
To end violence in Syria, Russia together with Turkey and Iran launched in Astana an initiative to set up de-escalation zones throughout the country.
On July 7, Russia, the USA and Jordan agreed to establish the first such zone in southwest Syria. Recently the final details have been worked out on how this zone will function, including the monitoring of cessation of hostilities and ensuring unimpeded access to humanitarian aid and crossing the border 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 the last two months, Russian transport aircraft have 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 the 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.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.