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Syria ceasefire goes into effect – Kremlin

February 29, 13:06 UTC+3
However, the road to a really stable truce would not and could not be easy due to the complex situation in the region, the presidential spokesman states
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© EPA/YOUSSEF BADAWI

MOSCOW, February 29. /TASS/. The Syria ceasefire is in effect, although this process is not easy, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

"The heads of state - the presidents of Russia and the United States - stressed from the very beginning that the road to the really stable truce would not be easy and could not be easy by definition due to the complex situation in the region," the official said.

But "it is important that the agreement [on the truce] has been reached and now the main steps have been taken in compliance with the agreement reached," the presidential spokesman underlined.

"The process is under way and it was clear from the outset that it wouldn’t proceed easily," Peskov said.

The Kremlin spokesman referred to the reports by the military that "the truce has come into force".

Kremlin cautions against accusing Russia of violating agreements on Syria

The Kremlin has again urged foreign partners to be careful when accusing Russia of violating agreements on Syria.

"Moscow has repeatedly made calls to accuse anyone of undermining the truce very carefully, to do this extremely carefully and accurately. The situation is not stable now. Here only such calls can be resumed," the official stated.

Peskov responded to recent comments of Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister who accused Russia of violating agreements on ceasefire that came into effect in Syria on February 27.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Sunday he would discuss with Riyadh allies Syria ceasefire violations by Damascus and Russia. "There are violations to the ceasefire from Russian and [Syrian] regime aircraft," he told reporters.

The minister also stressed that there is an alternative plan for Syria without participation of current President Bashar Assad in case if ceasefire between the sides fails.

The chief of Russia’s center for reconciliation of warring sides in Syria, Lt. Gen. Sergey Kuralenko said earlier the truce seemed largely to be holding despite nine instances of its violation by armed groups over the past 24 hours.

Overview of the Syrian ceasefire

The ceasefire in Syria hammered out by Moscow and Washington last week came into force at midnight local time on February 27. An hour before the ceasefire became effective the UN Security Council adopted a resolution to support the cessation of hostilities. The document drafted by Russia and the United States was supported by all 15 member-states of the UNSC.

UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said 97 armed groups agreed to ceasefire. The ceasefire 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.

In the follow-up of the joint statement by the Russian and US leaders issued on February 22, a special Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Sides was set up at Russia’s Hmeimim airbase in Syria’s Latakia. Currently, 61 Russian officers are working at the Center.

The Center aims to assist armed groupings in Syria in concluding ceasefire agreements, maintain the truce regime, control its observance and organize the delivery of humanitarian cargoes to civilians.

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