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Russia criticises Western reconstruction policy in Raqqa

Civilians living around Raqqa flee to opposition controlled safe zones due to clashes between Daesh and PYD/ PKK terrorist organisations on 26 May, 2017 [Hüseyin Nasır/Anadolu Agency]
Civilians living around Raqqa flee to opposition controlled safe zones due to clashes between Daesh and PYD/ PKK militants on 26 May 2017 [Hüseyin Nasır/Anadolu Agency]

The Russian Ministry of Defence has criticised Western policy on the reconstruction of the Syrian city of Raqqa, saying that if it is not revised, it will keep the city under piles of rubble. Moscow expressed its surprise at Western statements and plans related to the reconstruction of the city, especially those issued by the head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Mark Green, during his visit to Raqqa on Monday.

According to the ministry statement, Green initially described the scale and magnitude of the destruction in the city as "unspeakable" but when it came to practical support, he pointed out that his agency's mission is stabilisation not reconstruction.

"Incidentally," the ministry pointed out, "Mr Green understands stabilisation not as provision of meals and essentials to Raqqa residents, who remain without homes and food, something Russia has been doing all the way in Aleppo and other cities, but only as repairs of water and power supply facilities."

Read: Turkey 'appalled' by US stance on Daesh withdrawal from Raqqa

The Russian statement noted that the largest US agency to help poor countries did not explain the benefits of water and electricity to hundreds of thousands of refugees in Raqqa who live without shelter. This is especially so, it added, given that according to Green, USAID does not intend to fund this restoration from its aid budget, but to put pressure on allies to force them to help.

The international coalition and the Syrian Democratic Forces announced in October that they retook the city of Raqqa from Daesh militants.

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