France, Russia send humanitarian aid to Ghouta

Russian personnel (R) stands by as crates containing humanitarian aid are loaded onto an Antonov An-124 Ruslan - Widebody at the former Chateauroux-Deols Marcel Dassault Airport in central France on July 20, 2018. (Alain Jocard/AFP)
Updated 22 July 2018
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France, Russia send humanitarian aid to Ghouta

  • A Russian Antonov 124 military cargo plane carrying 50 tons of medical aid and humanitarian supplies left the airport at the central French city of Chateauroux at 3am
  • The medical aid is aimed at some 500 people who have been seriously injured and the 15,000 others who have lighter injuries during the fighting in Eastern Ghouta

CHATEAUROUX: Humanitarian aid sent by France and Russia arrived in Syria on Saturday as the two countries’ leaders discussed a joint mission to distribute much-needed relief supplies in a ravaged former opposition enclave.
The joint humanitarian aid operation — the first between Russia and a western country — was agreed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and French leader Emmanuel Macron during talks in Saint Petersburg in May.
A Russian Antonov-124 Ruslan military cargo plane carrying more than 40 tons of medical aid and humanitarian supplies arrived at the Russian military base in Hmeimim after departing from the central French city of Chateauroux early Saturday, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
The aid, including medicine, medical equipment, clothes and tents, will be given to residents of Eastern Ghouta on the fringes of the capital Damascus, which was retaken by government forces in April after a five-year siege.
It will be distributed under the supervision of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid (OCHA).
Russian representatives and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent will also participate in the process. The supplies will also be distributed to hospitals run by Red Crescent, Moscow said.
On Saturday, Putin and Macron discussed “humanitarian aspects of the Syria settlement” including the joint mission “to render assistance to the population of Eastern Ghouta” and other international issues, the Kremlin said.
Undertaken as part of a UN Security Council resolution, “the aim of this project is to enable civilian populations better access to aid,” a joint Franco-Russian statement said earlier.
“Humanitarian assistance is an absolute priority and must be distributed in accordance with principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence across all Syrian territory without exception,” it added.
France had secured “guarantees” from Russia that the Syrian regime would not obstruct the distribution of the aid, and that it would not be misappropriated or diverted for political purposes, the Foreign Ministry said.
More than 1,700 civilians were killed during the Syrian regime’s operation in Eastern Ghouta in March and April.
According to the Russian military, more than 160,000 people, both military and civilians, were evacuated from the region.
The medical aid is aimed at some 500 people who have been seriously injured and the 15,000 others who have lighter injuries during the fighting in Eastern Ghouta.


French military to continue fight against Daesh in Levant: Macron

Updated 17 January 2019
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French military to continue fight against Daesh in Levant: Macron

PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday the death of four Americans in Syria this week showed that the battle against Daesh militants would continue and he vowed that France would keep its troops in the region this year.
"The announced withdrawal of our American ally should not deflect us from our strategic objective to eradicate Daesh", Macron said in a speech in Toulouse to the armed forces.
Citing the death of 16 people, including four Americans, in a suicide bombing in Manbij, Syria, near the border with Turkey, Macron said the next few months would be decisive.
"We will remain militarily engaged in the Levant in the international coalition (...) over the coming year," he said.