The plane with canned food, baby food, sugar and other types of humanitarian aid departed this morning, Sept. 20, from Ramenskoye airfield near Moscow to Damascus, Syria. The Il-76 aircraft carries 38 tons of cargo.
The plane took off at 04:31 a.m., a statement on the website of the Russian Emergencies Ministry said. The assistance is being provided under instructions from the Government of the Russian Federation, The Asian Reporter said. Moscow has repeatedly sent humanitarian aid for civilians to Syria before. For example, in March of this year, two IL-76 aircraft delivered about 80 tons of aid to Damascus.
Last Tuesday, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, said at the meeting with Russia's Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Puchkov that Russia's and EU's humanitarian aid to Syria should be out of politics, BaltInfo reports.
Eighteen months of conflict in Syria, according to the UN, have led to the fact that 2.5 million citizens of the country are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. As many as 300,000 people were forced to flee to Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Nearly 20,000 people were killed, The Voice of Russia said. Damascus officially names the figure of 7-8 thousand, while the opposition - 25 thousand.