DAMASCUS, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- Syrian officials on Monday underscored the importance of the return of Syrian refugees back home, blaming Western sanctions for hindering their return.
In a joint Syrian-Russian press conference held in Syria's capital Damascus, Hasan Sulaiman, the head of the political administration of the Syrian army, told reporters that the overall situation in Syria is promising for the return of refugees.
"We can consider the overall situation as promising given the course of events in the field, which is in the interest of the Syrian army as security and stability have been established in many areas as well as the return of people to their homes," Sulaiman said.
He further added that the Syrian government is looking forward to the full return of all Syrians "because Syria needs all its sons to rebuild what terrorism had destroyed."
For his side, Hussain Makhlouf, the minister of local administration, accused the Western sanctions of hindering the return of refugees to Syria.
The sanctions negatively affect the social and economic situation as well as the health sector in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.
Major General Vyacheslav Sitnik, the deputy head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation, who attended the conference, told reporters that currently there are 50 refugee centers in Syria which are home to more than 100,000 people.
The Russian official said that more than 2 million Syrians have returned to their homes.
More than half of Syria's pre-war population of 23 million people have fled their homes, including 5.5 million who went abroad, according to the official data. Enditem