A rare joyful story from war-torn Syria has come to light after it was announced on Sunday that Russian repair crews have restored a 65 kilometer stretch of railroad tracks on the western coast of government-held Syria.
According to the Kremlin, the newly improved Syrian infrastructure will speed up delivery of Russian humanitarian aid to Latakia, Jableh and Tartous.
These cities have been under government control since the inception of the Syrian conflict but have witnessed a large influx of internal refugees, many whom remain unemployed and effectively under the poverty threshold.
On Sunday, for the first time in years, the Syrian government sent its first locomotive to Latakia province. Distribution of aid via the restored track will cut the delivery time in half, a Russian official said.
“Humanitarian cargo weighing 27 tons arrived by sea. It was loaded onto railway transport and will be delivered to Jableh, where it will be distributed locally among Syrians who are most affected by the fighting,” said Colonel Aleksandr Gubanov, a spokesman for the Russian center for reconciliation of opposing sides in Syria.
Damascus now hopes that Russia will help them restore other parts of the rail network, specifically from Tartous to the neighbouring Homs governorate.
Prior to the Syrian war, the country’s railway extended some 2,423 kilometers and was gradually expanding under Bashar al-Assad’s leadership.