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Putin discusses initiatives of Russia-US Syria statement with Iran's president — Kremlin

February 24, 14:58 UTC+3
Earlier on Wednesday, President Putin held telephone conversations with Syrian President Bashar Assad and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
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© Alexei Nikolskiy/ITAR-TASS

MOSCOW, February 24. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has held a telephone conversation with President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani, the Kremlin press service reported on Wednesday.

"They focused on the Syrian problems, in particular the discussion of the initiatives and proposals contained in the Joint Statement of Russia and the United States on the cessation of hostilities in Syria", the Kremlin said.

The two countries’ leaders stressed the importance of the further joint work of Russia and Iran on the Syrian settlement issues, including the continuation of the decisive fight against the Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist organizations put on the UN Security Council’s sanctions list.

Earlier on Wednesday, President Putin held telephone conversations with Syrian President Bashar Assad and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

On Monday evening, Russia and the United States issued a joint statement saying that the ceasefire regime in Syria would take effect on February 27 at 00:00, Damascus time (01:00, Moscow time). To this end, all the warring sides should comply with the conditions specified in the statement. Russia and the United States assume the obligation to influence the close to them political forces in Syria for achieving a truce.

The statement says that the cessation of hostilities is to be applied to all parties to the Syrian conflict but for Daesh (the Arabic acronym for Islamic State) and Jabhat an-Nusra (both are banned in Russia) "or other terrorist organizations designated by the UN Security Council." Airstrikes on them will be continued.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed the agreement, with his special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura saying he was ready to support implementation of the accords either rights on the spot in Damascus or from Geneva.

According to the UN statistics, fighting between Syrian government troops and militants has killed over 220,000 people and displaced millions since its start in 2011. Gangs of militants making part of various armed formations, the most active of them being the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations, fight government troops.

Russia’s Aerospace Forces started delivering pinpoint strikes in Syria at facilities of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations, which are banned in Russia, on September 30, 2015, on a request from Syrian President Bashar Assad. The air group initially comprised over 50 aircraft and helicopters, including Sukhoi Su-24M, Su-25SM and state-of-the-art Su-34 aircraft. They were deployed to the Khmeimim airbase in the province of Latakia.

On October 7, 2015, four missile ships of the Russian Navy’s Caspian Flotilla fired 26 Kalibr cruise missiles (NATO codename Sizzler) at militants’ facilities in Syria. On October 8, the Syrian army passed to a large-scale offensive.

In mid-November 2015, Russia increased the number of aircraft taking part in the operation in Syria to 69 and involved strategic bombers in strikes at militants. Targets of the Russian aircraft include terrorists’ gasoline tankers and oil refineries. Russia’s aircraft have made thousands of sorties since the start of the operation in Syria. Moscow has repeatedly said that Russia plans no ground operation in Syria.

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