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Militants supported by 5 tanks attempt offensive at Syrian army — Russian Defense Ministry

March 22, 18:51 UTC+3
No one from among the Russian center’s officers and representatives of the Syrian side taking part in the humanitarian actions was hurt
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© Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry's Press Office/TASS

MOSCOW, March 22 /TASS/. The Syrian ceasefire has been violated six times over the past 24 hours. Militants supported by five tanks have launched an offensive against the government troops, the Russian reconciliation center said in a press release published at the Russian Defense Ministry website.

"Six violations have been registered in the past 24 hours: 5 in Latakia and 1 in Hama provinces... Militants from the Ketib Al-Farrukh armed unit supported by five tanks tried to launch an offensive against the government troops near the Ramliya and Tel Derra villages in Syria," the press release said.

"The Syrian army unit retaliated and caused a fire damage to the exposed targets of the advancing [militant] group," the Russian reconciliation center said.

"In Latakia province, unidentified armed units delivered mortar fire from the Shamruran populated locality at the Karadzhabez and Kermel settlements," the Russian reconciliation center reported adding that militants who consider themselves to be members of the Ahrar ash-Sham opposition group had also launched mortar attacks at the Syrian army positions near other populated localities.

Residents of Idlib province have informed the Russian reconciliation center that more than 100 members of the Jebhat al-Nusra extremist group arrived at the Binnish settlement. "They [extremists] told the local residents in conversations that they were going to Aleppo soon to fight the government troops," the Russian reconciliation center said in its press release.

Talks continue with armed formations on Syria ceasefire

Talks are continuing in Syria with populated areas and armed formations on joining the ceasefire, an information bulletin of the Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Sides in the Syrian Arab Republic said on Tuesday.

"Talks have been held with representatives of five communities and administrations of districts in the provinces of Damascus and Homs over the past twenty-four hours. The participants in the talks discussed the issues of joining the ceasefire and the transition of participants in opposition armed formations to peaceful life," the Center said in a report posted on the Russian Defense Ministry’s website on Tuesday.

Talks continued with the leaders of two armed formations operating in the city of Aleppo, the news bulletin said.

The number of armed formations that have accepted the truce terms remains unchanged at 43.

In addition to that, preliminary agreements have been reached with representative of two populated localities in Hama province, and consultations with the heads of two opposition political parties operating in Syria have been held.

"They discussed reconciliation problems and how to resolve them," the news bulletin said.

The leaderships of the Russian (Hmeymim air base) and the Amman-based US coordination centers had a regular conference call on Tuesday. The Russian side has informed its American partners of all cases of ceasefire violation in Aleppo and Latakia provinces that had been registered in previous days.

"Problems of monitoring the ceasefire regime and how to resolve them were also part of agenda," the Russian reconciliation center said.

Russian humanitarian convoys come under terrorist fire

Russian humanitarian convoys came under gunfire from terrorists in Syria.

"Russian humanitarian convoys on their way to the settlements Harasta (the province of Damascus) and Kafer-Nan (the province of Hama) came under gunfire from militants. No one from among the Russian center’s officers and representatives of the Syrian side taking part in the humanitarian actions were hurt," the document says.

Specialists from the Russian reconciliation center have begun to form another humanitarian convoy for settlements in the Syrian province of Hama, which will be dispatched in the nearest future.

"Officers from the Russian reconciliation center jointly with officials from the administration of the city of Al Ganto in the province of Homs inspected restoration of infrastructure in the city’s residential quarters. Restoration works are hampered by the lack of qualified electricity and water supplies specialists. Results of the inspection were reported to the province’s leadership," the center said.

Officers of the center met with representatives from the administration of four settlements in the province of Hama on issues of humanitarian deliveries. The Syrian side stressed the importance of humanitarian assistance to encourage people to return to their homes. Participants in the meeting thanked the Russian center for delivering humanitarian aid to the settlement of Kafer-Nan on March 20.

"It was noted that until that day no humanitarian organization has ever delivered relief aid to Kafer-Nan," the center stressed.

Syria ceaefire

Russian and US Presidents Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama adopted a statement on February 22 on a ceasefire in Syria from February 27.

Both countries undertook to influence the Syrian political forces close to them to achieve truce in Syria. The truce regime is not applicable to the groupings recognized by the United Nations as terrorist organizations, such as the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra (both outlawed in Russia).

In the follow-up of the joint statement by the Russian and US leaders, a special Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Sides was set up at Russia’s Khmeimim airbase in Syria’s Latakia.

The Center aims to assist armed groups 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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