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Damascus vows to help refugees return, urges lifting of sanctions

Syrian government officials vowed Monday to ensure the safe return of refugees and urged Western countries to encourage the process by lifting sanctions, AP reported. According to Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, the refugees’ return is a top priority for Damascus, and the Syrian government “will facilitate their return by all means.” He also said that Damascus would welcome any foreign assistance, provided it comes with no preconditions. Public Administration Minister Hussein Makhlouf said authorities are working to rebuild hospitals, schools and other infrastructure to help accommodate refugees.