Russian president Vladimir Putin and his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad held a videoconference, on 9 November 2020, to announce the forthcoming Damascus conference on the return of Syrians from abroad.
More than 150 Russian figures will travel from Moscow specially to participate.
Russia invited all relevant states to take part in the conference. However, the European Union and the United Nations responded negatively.
The European Union deems that the Syrian migrants did not flee the fighting, but the “Alawite dictatorship” (sic) and that they do not intend to return until “Bashar” is gone.
The UN special representative, Geir Pedersen, has been at odds with Russia since his videoconference speech to the Security Council, on 27 October 2020, when he complained about a Russian air attack on the Legion of the Levant (Faylaq al-Cham). From his point of view, this group has been involved in a series of negotiations in the past, and is therefore protected by the United Nations. However, from the Russian perspective, it was incorporated into a Turkish army operation theater two years ago and has, therefore, forfeited its rights.
During the videoconference, President Assad insisted that, unfortunately, hotbeds of terrorism were still thriving in Syria.