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Dozen calls received by Russian ceasefire center in Syria

February 24, 19:48 UTC+3
On Tuesday, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced the creation of a coordination center at the Russian Hmeimim air base with the aim to reconcile the warring sides within Syria
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© Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP

MOSCOW, February 24. /TASS/. The coordination center on the ceasefire set up by the Russian Defense Ministry in Syria has already received over a dozen of calls, the ministry's spokesman Maj Gen Igor Konashenkov said on Wednesday.

"These are not rare cases, there are dozens of them," he said.

The center received about ten calls from those areas in Syria where Russian servicemen are carrying out active work, he said. Thus, the center’s staff members are working with representatives of the opposition groups in the Hama, Homs, Latakia provinces and the cities of Damascus and Daraa.

"Application papers for the cessation of hostilities have been signed as a result of this work, like it happened in the village of Dzhavalik and other localities in the Homs province," the Russian general said.

In the meantime, the fighting stopped in some villages in the north of Latakia where the needed documents were signed. In some other residential localities the talks are underway, he said.

"Staff members of the coordination center are helping to organize deliveries of humanitarian cargoes, daily necessities and to provide medical and other assistance to the areas and residential localities where the ceasefire agreements have already been signed," Konashenkov said.

On Tuesday, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced the creation of a coordination center at the Russian Hmeimim air base with the aim to reconcile the warring sides within Syria. The center was set up in line with agreements reached by Russia and the United States to end fighting in Syria.

Konashenkov said that the center employs 50 staff divided into five structural subdivisions: a group dealing with analyzing and planning, a group dealing with negotiations, a group concluding agreements and communicating with foreign organizations, a group providing information support and a group dealing with humanitarian deliveries to Syrians.

"I would like to draw your attention to the fact that overwhelming majority of Russian officers has vast experiences in peacekeeping operations under the UN auspices or in other peacekeeping formats," he said.

On Monday night Russia and the United States released a joint statement saying that the ceasefire will take effect in Syria at 00:00 Damascus Time on February 27.

"The cessation of hostilities commence at 00:00 [Damascus time] on February 27, 2016," the joint statement said.

The statement points out 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 al-Nusra (both are banned in Russia) "or other terrorist organizations designated by the UN Security Council."

Russia’s aviation grouping has been delivering air strikes against the Islamic State terrorist organization in Syria since September 30 at the request of Syria’s President Bashar Assad.

Since 2014, the US-led coalition has also been delivering air strikes against militants in Syria and Iraq.

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