US asks Russia for more 'access' in Syria for humanitarian purposes

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This September 23, 2014 US Air Forces Central Command file photo shows a US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle flying over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria. (AFP)

The United States has urged Russia to take more serious action to help enable what it calls humanitarian access in Syria, an American official says.

Anne Patterson and Michael Ratney, two senior US State Department officials, asked Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov in Geneva Monday “for full humanitarian access to all Syrians in need," an official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The two called on Moscow to use its "influence" with the Syrian government to gain  the access.

"Assistant Secretary Patterson underscored the need to work toward a political transition as outlined in UN Security Council Resolution 2254,” noted the official. "The two sides agreed to remain in close contact on Syria as the UN-led negotiations proceed."

The US demand comes as Russia has already begun "humanitarian operations" in Syria, where it is also engaged in an aerial campaign against terrorist groups over the past few months.

On January 15, Russian Defense Ministry officials said that peaceful life was returning to Syria as a result of Moscow’s joint military operation with the Syrian government against militants.

“The inhabitants are gradually coming back to Syrian cities and peaceful life is returning ... in this context, the implementation of humanitarian operations will be a new line of work for the Russian armed forces in Syria,” said General Sergei Rudskoi, a senior Russian General Staff official.

Rudskoi added that most of the relief aid was being sent to the eastern city of Dayr al-Zawr, which had been under siege by Daesh Takfiris.

Moscow began airstrikes against Daesh and other terrorist groups in Syria on September 30 upon a request by the Syrian government.

According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the air campaign will last for as long as it is necessary as Moscow’s goal is to help Damascus defeat terrorists.

The foreign-sponsored conflict in Syria, which flared in March 2011, has reportedly claimed the lives of more than 260,000 people and left over one million injured.


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