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Local Syrian leader praises role of Russian military operation in restoring peaceful life

March 04, 2016, 9:03 UTC+3 MAR SHAHUR (Syria)

The local leader, Sheikh Ahmed Mubarak, has united more than 30 settlements in the Hama province within the national reconciliation process

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MAR SHAHUR (Syria), March 4. /TASS/. Syrian residents are returning to peaceful life only because of the successes of the government troops and pilots of the Russian Aerospace Forces that deliver airstrikes on terrorists, Sheikh Ahmed Mubarak who has united more than 30 settlements in the Hama province within the national reconciliation process said on Friday.

A council of elders previously held a meeting in the Marzaf settlement where Mubarak with the mediation of Russian officers of the Coordination Center for reconciling the warring sides in Syria signed with the local authorities another agreement on starting the peace process in the settlement.

"The population is returning to normal peaceful life, which has become possible only thanks to our troops and Russian pilots who have helped us greatly with their strikes against terrorists," Mubarak said.

He added that despite the current difficulties, the Syrian people’s main desire is the establishment of peace. To confirm his words the sheikh invited journalists to visit classes at a local school, a medical center where children’s vaccination against polio has started for the first time over a long period, as well as to look at the work of local farmers.

On Thursday, more than 2,000 packages with Russian-Syrian relief supplies with the total weight of 20 tonnes were delivered to the Marzaf and Al Kupair settlements in Syria (Hama province). Each package of humanitarian aid contains two cans of fish, a can of stewed beef, as well as two kilograms of rice, peas and beans each. Separate sets for children include two kinds of chocolates, cookies and waffles.

Syria ceasefire

The ceasefire regime between the Syrian government forces and armed opposition groups came into force from 00:00 (01:00, Moscow time) on February 27. Ceasefire is not applicable to the terrorist groups Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, as well as other formations recognized by the UN Security Council as terrorist.

An hour before the ceasefire came into force, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution in support of cessation of hostilities in Syria. The document was initiated by Russia and the United States and won support from all the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council. United Nations Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, told a briefing after the United Nations Security Council meeting that 97 armed groups in Syria had accepted the ceasefire terms.

According to the Russian military, the ceasefire regime in generally observed, but occasional violations of the regime have been recorded since the ceasefire regime came into force.

Russia's operation in Syria

Russia’s Aerospace Force started delivering strikes in Syria at facilities of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist groups (both banned in Russia) on September 30, 2015. The air group initially comprised over 50 aircraft and helicopters, including Sukhoi Su-24M, Su-25SM and state-of-the-art Su-34 aircraft. They were redeployed to the Khmeimim airbase in the province of Latakia. On October 7, Moscow also involved the Russian Navy in the military operation. Four missile ships of the Caspian Flotilla fired 26 Kalibr cruise missiles (NATO codename Sizzler) at militants’ facilities in Syria.

In mid-November, after an alleged terrorist attack on Russian passenger jet that fell in Egypt killing 224 people on board, Moscow increased the number of aircraft taking part in the operation in Syria by several dozen and involved strategic bombers in the strikes as well. Targets of the Russian aircraft include terrorists’ gasoline tankers and oil refineries. Russia’s aircraft have made thousands of sorties since the start of the operation in Syria, with over a hundred of them performed by long-range aircraft.

On November 24, a Turkish F-16 fighter brought down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M bomber involved in Moscow’s military operation against the Islamic State (a terrorist group outlawed in Russia).  Ankara claimed the warplane violated the Turkey’s airspace. The Russian Defense Ministry said the warplane was flying over Syrian territory without violating Turkey’s airspace. The Russian president referred to the attack as a “stab in Russia’s back” and promised that the move would cause response action from Russia. Moscow deployed new S-400 air defense systems in Syria in order to protect the warplanes involved in the military operation and started arming the fighters intended to provide air support to bombers and attack aircraft in Syria with air-to-air missiles.

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