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More than 30 settlements in Syria’s Hama province join peace process

March 03, 2016, 10:22 UTC+3

Local leader Sheikh Ahmed Mubarak signed an agreement with local authorities on joining the peace process with mediation of Russia’s coordination center

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© AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin

MOSCOW, March 3. /TASS/. More than 30 settlements in the Syrian province of Hama have joined the national reconciliation process in the country with mediation of Russia’s coordination center, head of the reconciliation group in Hama Lt. Col. German Rudenko told reporters on Thursday.

The council of elders was held in the settlement of Maarzaf on Wednesday, where local leader Sheikh Ahmed Mubarak signed an agreement with local authorities on joining the peace process with mediation of Russian officers from the coordination center to reconcile the warring parties in Syria.

"The work is very scrupulous and fragile, everything here is based on religious and national details. In general, around 30 settlements have signed such application lists on joining the peace process and negotiations since the group started working," Rudenko said.

He noted that the agreement signed by representatives of local authorities includes points on non-use of weapons against government forces, facilitating the peace process and return of state power to the region.

According to the head of the reconciliation group, talks in several settlements are very complicated due to lack of infrastructure, difficult humanitarian situation and intimidation of local population by terrorists.

"When we first started working, it was very hard to find contacts in settlements. However, thanks to our group, we managed to establish contacts with Sheikh Mubarak who agreed to help us in the negotiations process," Rudenko went on.

Sheikh Ahmed Mubarak has in turn noted Russia’s important role in launching the process of reconciliation in Syria.

"National truce occurred because the Syrian army ousted terrorists from many seized territories. It became possible thanks to Russia which made every effort by presenting a very promising project of national reconciliation in Syria," Mubarak said after signing the agreement.

He confirmed that more than 30 settlements in the Hama province joined the agreement with the mediation of Russia’s coordination center and added that many new settlements expressed readiness to join peace talks as well.

The local Syrian leader expressed confidence that signing the agreement on ceasefire will have a positive effect on holding regional election due to take place in Syria on March 7.

"You see how much residents of the Hama province respect Sheikh Mubarak. People like him should decide the future of their country and restore it after the war," Russian Defense Ministry’s official spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.

The ceasefire between government forces and armed opposition took effect in Syria at 00:00 Damascus Time on February 27. An hour before the agreement entered into force, UN Security Council adopted a resolution in support of cessation of hostilities in Syria. It is expected that inter-Syrian talks will resume in Geneva on March 9.

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