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Russian defense official reports seven ceasefire violations in Syria

February 29, 2016, 21:38 UTC+3 LATAKIA

According to the chief of Russia’s center for ceasefire in Syria, considerable progress has been reached in four provinces but Turkey's action on Syrian border may disrupt the truce

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Syrian soldiers

Syrian soldiers

© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

LATAKIA, February 29. /TASS/. Russia’s Defense Ministry reports considerable progress in reconciliation of Syria’s government forces and opposition in four Syrian provinces, chief of Russia’s center for ceasefire in Syria Lieutenant-General Sergey Kuralenko said on Monday.

"Considerable progress in reconciling the warring parties has been reached in four provinces," he said.

"Over the past day, officers of the Russian center and government and self-defense forces registered seven episodes of ceasefire violation," he said, adding that Jabhat al-Nusra gunmen attacked Kurdish self-defense positions in the vicinity of the town of Ashrafia in the Aleppo province with the use of artillery. "We have referred information about all violations to the U.S. Reconciliation Center in Amman," he said.

"The ceasefire between government troops and opposition forces in Syria is generally observed," he said, adding that the center is monitoring ceasefire in the round-the-clock regime in six provinces, namely, Hama, Homs, Latakia, Aleppo and Daraa.

Turkish action on Syrian border may disrupt truce

The official also pointed out that Turkish military’s pulling armored vehicles into areas bordering on Syria and the strengthening of positions is a provocative move that may disrupt the ceasefire regime.

"Also, we paid attention to yesterday’s video by a Russian television channel filmed near the city of Tell Abyad located on the Turkish border. It fixed Turkish military equipping firing positions and pulling to the border armored vehicles used to shell Syrian settlements," he said.

"We qualify this action as clearly provocative, capable to disrupt the process of a ceasefire and reconciliation in the Syrian Arab Republic," the military said.

The heads of the Russian and US coordination centers have discussed on the phone the first results of cessation of hostilities in Syria, saying they were satisfied with joint work.

Kuralenko said "a telephone conversation was held between the leadership of the coordination centers from the Russian (Hmeimim airbase) and American (Amman) sides with an aim to coordinate activity on compliance with the ceasefire regime and cessation of combat operations," noting that the conversation had been constructive.

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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