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Russian Center for Reconciliation calls on Syrians to join anti-terrorism efforts

August 17, 18:05 UTC+3

The center says the number of the so-called moderate opposition members, who expressed readiness to launch dialogue and make ceasefire agreements with the government forces, is growing

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© Sergei Bobylev/TASS

LATAKIA /Syria/, August 17. /TASS/. The Syrians people should join forces in the fight against terrorists, the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the opposing sides in Syria said on Thursday.

The center’s spokesman Lieutenant General Sergei Kuralenko gave an address to the Syrian people at the office of the country’s main TV channel in the city of Latakia. "I call upon all the Syrians, who want to liberate their country from terrorists, restore peace and harmony, to join forces," he said. "Only your joint efforts will stop the fratricidal war and bring the much awaited peace back to Syria," the general said.

According to Kuralenko, because of the militants’ atrocities, great damage has been done to the country’s industrial and social infrastructure, as well as to the world cultural heritage sites, while millions of Syrians were forced to leave their homes. "Russia has always supported Syria, this is the reason why Moscow accepted Damascus’ request to assist in the elimination of international terrorists invading the country," the Russian general added.

Syrian authorities and opposition should set up local reconciliation committees in the de-escalation zones, he went on. "We propose that in these areas [in de-escalation zones - TASS] local reconciliation committees be established, comprising representatives of the local settlements, Syrian government and credible opposition members," he said.

Readiness for dialogue

The Russian Center’s spokesman also said that the number of the so-called moderate opposition members, who expressed readiness to launch dialogue and make ceasefire agreements with the government forces, had been growing. "Today, when Syria’s territory is being liberated from terrorist groups, more and more opposition members come to understand that there is the need to put an end to the civil confrontation and start searching for a political solution," Kuralenko said.

The Russian general pointed out that military activities had ended in the Syrian de-escalation zones, where people had been receiving humanitarian aid, while work had begun to repair roads, water supply facilities and energy facilities. Conditions are being created there for refugees to return to their homes. "In order to prevent terrorists’ provocations and control the ceasefire, Russia’s military police have established observation points around the de-escalation zones. Together with our Turkish and Iranian partners, we have been making efforts to set up another de-escalation zone in the Idlib Governorate," he added.

The armed conflict in Syria has been raging since March 2011. According to the United Nations, over this period of time, more than 220,000 people have been killed.

Syrian de-escalation zones

According to earlier reports, at the Astana meeting on Syria, the guarantors of the Syrian ceasefire (Russia, Iran and Turkey) signed a memorandum on setting up de-escalation zones in the war-torn country.

De-escalation zones include the Idlib Governorate, some parts of its neighboring areas in the Latakia, Hama and Aleppo Governorates north of the city of Homs, eastern Ghouta, as well as the Daraa and al-Quneitra Governorates in southern Syria.

Starting from May 6, military activities and aircraft flights in the de-escalation zones are banned. At the same time, Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed to take all the necessary measures to continue fighting against terrorists on these territories and in the rest of Syria.

The memorandum will remain in effect for six months and could be automatically extended for another six months.

Head of the Main Operations Department at Russia’s General Staff, Lieutenant-General Sergei Rudskoi said earlier that representatives of the Russian Defense Ministry and the moderate Syrian opposition had reached an agreement on the de-escalation zone in the Eastern Ghouta area. Russian military police have set up two check points there, as well as four observation points.

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