"We need to strengthen the humanitarian effort in the Syrian conflict,” he said. "By that, I mean above all, humanitarian aid to the Syrian people and help the regions where refugees living abroad can return to." According to him, there were one million refugees in Jordan, the same number in Lebanon, and three million in Turkey.
Germany has accepted hundreds of thousands of migrants since 2015, the height of the migration crisis, which has weakened Angela Merkel politically and split the European Union. "This is potentially a huge burden for Europe,” Putin said. "That’s why we have to do everything to get these people back home,” he added, emphasizing the need to restore basic services such as water supplies and healthcare.
Merkel, in turn, said that the priority in Syria was “to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe” but she did not give any further details. Putin and Merkel’s meeting lasted for three hours in private.