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Three more settlements in Syria join ceasefire regime

January 15, 20:53 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The number of armed groups that pledged their commitment to accepting and fulfilling the conditions of the regime of cessation of hostilities has remained unchanged - 104

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MOSCOW, January 15. /TASS/. Three more settlements in the Syrian provinces of Latakia and Damascus have joined the ceasefire regime in the past 24 hours, the Russian center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria said in its regular daily bulletin posted on the Russian defense ministry’s official website on Sunday.

"During the day, agreements on joining the regime of cessation of hostilities were signed with two settlements in the province of Latakia, Maarin and Btammush, and one settlement in the province of Damascus, al-Taiba," the center said.

Thus, the number of populated localities that have joined the reconciliation process has reached 1, 123, as follows from the bulletin.

"Talks on joining the regime of cessation of hostilities were continued with field commanders of armed opposition groups in the provinces of Homs, Hama, Aleppo and al-Quneitra," the Russian center said.

The number of armed groups that pledged their commitment to accepting and fulfilling the conditions of the regime of cessation of hostilities has remained unchanged - 104.

The nationwide ceasefire came into force across Syria at midnight on December 30, 2016 under the agreement on a complex solution to the Syria crisis. Syrian government forces and groups of armed opposition with an overall strength of more than 60,000 have joined the agreement. Russia and Turkey act as the ceasefire guarantors. Ceasefire does not cover terrorist groups, such as Islamic State.

The Russian Defense Ministry declared the establishment of the reconciliation center on February 23. It is headquartered at the Hmeimim air base, Latakia province. The center was set up in line with agreements reached by Russia and the United States to facilitate the negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition and to organize humanitarian deliveries.

A total of 20 ceasefire violations were reported in Syria in the past day, including nine - by Russian officers and eleven - by their Turkish partners, the Russian center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria.

"During the day, Russian officials in the Russian-Turkish joint commission set up to monitor ceasefire violations in Syria reported nine violations, including five - in the province of Hama, and four - in the province of Latakia," the Russian center said. "Turkish officials reported 11 ceasefire violations, including two - in the province of Damascus, five - in the province of Aleppo, two - in the province of Idlib, and two - in the province of Hama."

A probe revealed that in one case shelling was conducted at positions of the terrorist organization Jabhat al-Nusra. Apart from that, the Russian side found no confirmation of ten more violations.

The nationwide ceasefire came into force across Syria at midnight on December 30, 2016 under the agreement on a complex solution to the Syria crisis. Syrian government forces and groups of armed opposition with an overall strength of more than 60,000 have joined the agreement. Russia and Turkey act as the ceasefire guarantors. Ceasefire does not cover terrorist groups, such as Islamic State.

The Russian Defense Ministry declared the establishment of the reconciliation center on February 23. It is headquartered at the Hmeimim air base, Latakia province. The center was set up in line with agreements reached by Russia and the United States to facilitate the negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition and to organize humanitarian deliveries.

More than 1,000 militants in the Wadi Barada area, Damascus province, have surrendered arms and left the area to head with their families to the province of Idlib.

"Two out of nine settlements in the Wadi Barada area in the province of Damascus that were previously controlled by militants, Hussainiya and Burgaliya, have signed agreements on joining the regime of cessation of hostilities. The rest seven settlements, namely Kafr al-Awamid, Souk Wadi Barada, Deir Kanun, Deir Maqran, Kafer al-Zeit, Basima and Ain al-Fija, have expressed intention to join the creasefire regime. As many as 1,268 militants have been evacuated from these settlements. Most of them have surrendered arms and returned to peaceful life. The rest have been granted a possibility to safely leave with their families for the province of Idlib," the bulletin said.

According to the reconciliation center, efforts are continued to resume water supplies in Damascus.

Alaa Ibrahim, the governor of the Damascus province, said earlier that the bulk of armed Syrian opposition groups in the Wadi Barada valley had agreed to cease hostilities. He said the process of surrending arms to the Syrian army would begin within days and after that these people would be checked by law enforcement agencies.

On Thursday, Syrian government forces drew terrorists from the town of Ain al-Fija located near a water source of the same name feeding Damascus with drining water.

The nationwide ceasefire came into force across Syria at midnight on December 30, 2016 under the agreement on a complex solution to the Syria crisis. Syrian government forces and groups of armed opposition with an overall strength of more than 60,000 have joined the agreement. Russia and Turkey act as the ceasefire guarantors. Ceasefire does not cover terrorist groups, such as Islamic State.

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