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‘Staged’ videos shot in Syria to show shelling aftermath — Russian reconciliation center

May 06, 19:28 updated at: May 06, 21:28 UTC+3

The situation in Syria can be assessed as calm after the memorandum of understanding on establishing de-escalation zones by all the warring sides has come into force

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© Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP, file

HMEIMIM /Syria/, May 6. /TASS/. Camera operators working for the Al-Jazeera television broadcaster were shooting ‘staged videos’ of the aftermath of shelling and airstrikes in Syria last week, the Russian center for reconciliation of warring sides in Syria said on Saturday.

"According to some sources among local civilians and from opposition units, special ‘video teams’ were shooting ‘staged’ films in the populated localities of Serakab and Jisr-al-Shuqur over the past week about the aftermath of purported shelling and airstrikes, including with the use of ‘toxic substances’," the statement said. "Moreover, local people recognized TV camera men, known for shooting news for the Al-Jazeera TV channel in the area, among ‘advisers to ‘video teams’."

Russian officials "maintain contacts needed to exclude any provocations by terrorists," aimed at derailing the memorandum, the statement says.

Earlier, a military diplomatic source told reporters about film shooting in the Idlib region. The source said that Al-Jazeera stringers were shooting a film which shows the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian government forces and which is due to be released until May 7.

The situation in Syria can be assessed as calm after the memorandum of understanding on establishing de-escalation zones by all the warring sides has come into force, center said.

"After the memorandum of understanding on the creation of de-escalation zones in the Syrian Arab Republic has come into force, all the warring sides assess the situation ‘on the ground’ as calm," the center said. "Nevertheless, information is coming to the Russian reconciliation center from locals that Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS (abbreviation for the so-called Islamic State - TASS) terrorist groups are plotting to derail the implementation of the memorandum.".

De-escalation zones

On May 4, Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed to set up four de-escalation zones in Syria. Under a memorandum signed at the talks in Astana, the four zones are Idlib province and some parts of neighboring provinces (Aleppo, Latakia and Hama), an area north of Homs, Damascus’s suburb Eastern Ghouta, and a number of provinces in southern Syria - Daraa and Al-Quneitra.

In those areas, combat operations, including flights by military aircraft, are outlawed as of May 6. The memorandum was concluded for six months with chances of automatic prolongation for another six months. Russia’s Defense Ministry said earlier that the fight against Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist groups (outlawed in Russia - TASS) would be continued inside and around those zones.

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