MOSCOW - Nearly 1.5 million Syrian citizens have already returned to their homes in the war-torn country, with about 250,000 Syrians having come back from abroad, Russia's National Defense Control Center head Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev said on Monday.

"As of today, over 1,490,739 Syrian citizens have returned to the country. At least 1,241,212 of them account for internally displaced persons. Over 249,527 people have returned from abroad," Mizintsev said at a meeting of Russian-Syrian HQ coordinating the return of refugees. Over the past week, at least 2,659 Syrians have come back home.

"The Syrian govet proceeds with the work to improve the legislative framework aimed at promoting the process of refugees' return.  On Oct 9, Syrian President Bashar Assad signed decree ?18 on granting amnesty, which is another considerable step toward removing barriers to refugees' deciding on their return to the homeland," Mizintsev indicated.

Mizintsev pointed out that active work to reconstruct Syria's infrastructure was underway. He specified that 167 residential buildings, a school and two medical facilities had been put into operation over the past week.

"In another 289 settlements the reconstruction works [to rebuild] 180 schools, 160 pre-schools, 156 bakeries, 179 water pumping stations, 161 electrical substations, 153 medical facilities, 1,877 residential buildings and 82 places of worship are continuing," Mizintsev added.

Nikolai Burtsev, a representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said at the meeting that an international conference on the return of Syrians back to the homeland was currently prepared. "According to experts, [the conference] might take place by year's end," Burtsev stated.

According to Burtsev, the work to form an inter-agency working group, comprising the representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Defense Ministry and Justice Ministry, which will be tasked with providing legal assistance to the Syrian government, is ongoing.

Burtsev also pointed to the difficult situation in the Rukban refugee camp located near the US Al Tanf military base in the Syrian province of Homs.

"According to the available information, terrorists are hiding in the camp from the government forces. The Russian party has repeatedly called for ensuring the international organizations' humanitarian access to Rukban, pointing to the illegal nature of the US presence in Syria, which poses a serious obstacle to the elimination of terrorists and the complete restoration of sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic," Burtsev stated.

He stressed that the main efforts were currently focused on facilitating the Syrian refugees' return from Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, including in cooperation with the international community.

As the Syrian government has regained control over most of the country's territories that were seized by terrorists, it is now focused on creating favourable conditions for repatriating refugees. Moscow is assisting Damascus in this, along with providing humanitarian aid to civilians and being a guarantor of the ceasefire.