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Over 1,000 Jabhat al-Nusra militants concentrated north of Aleppo — ministry

April 07, 2016, 19:35 UTC+3

Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists made attempts to seize the locality of Handrat and the neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsood over the past day

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© Al-Nusra Front via AP

MOSCOW, April 7. /TASS/. Militants of the Islamic State (IS) and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations, not covered by the Russian-US agreement on ceasefire in Syria, continue armed provocations in a number of Syrian governorates against civilians and government troops, the Russian center for reconciliation of the warring sides in Syria said in a news bulletin Thursday.

In the Aleppo area, Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists made attempts to seize the locality of Handrat and the neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsood over the past day, the bulletin posted on the Russian Defense Ministry website said.

"According to reports from local residents coming to the reconciliation center, more than 1,000 militants of the terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra, armed with 7 tanks and 24 all-terrain vehicles with heavy machineguns, are concentrated in the localities of Muheimhandrat, Jandul, Hraitan and Qafr-Hamra [north of Aleppo]," it said.

Over the past day, mortar fire from the localities on the village of Handrat was opened six times. Two civilians were killed and six wounded.

"From the direction of the locality of Teir-Maala (Homs), militants of the Jaysh al-Islam group, which ranks itself among the opposition, shelled the village of Tahun-Donguzia from homemade multiple-launch systems," the center’s news bulletin posted on the Russian Defense Ministry’s website said.

"In the governorate of Hama, militants of the Free Syrian Army delivered mortar fire from Kafer-Nbuda on positions of the government troops," the bulletin said.

Besides, mortar shelling of Syrian Armed Forces units continued in the area of the inhabited localities of Sandran and Shmaisa (Latakia).

The center said Russia’s Aerospace Forces and Syria’s Air Force have not delivered strikes at opposition armed formations that announced cessation of hostilities and reported to the Russian or American reconciliation centers the data on their location.

Number of populated localities that joined ceasefire stands at 58

According to the reconciliation center, the number of populated localities having joined the Syrian ceasefire remains unchanged at 58.

The number of military units, which announced their commitment to the cessation of hostilities in Syria and implementing the ceasefire conditions, remains unchanged at 47, the bulletin said.

Reconciliation talks are underway with representatives of one populated locality in the Hama province.

The bulletin also runs that military transport planes of the Russian Aerospace Forces have delivered 15 tonnes of food to Hmeymim airfield in Syria for forming the next aid convoy.

"In Hama province, 3.7 tonnes of relief cargoes were handed over to the people of Deir al-Fardis populated locality. Aid convoys bound for Damascus and Aleppo provinces are being formed," the center said.

The ceasefire regime took effect in Syria on February 27. Shortly before, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution supporting a cessation of hostilities. The document drafted by Russia and the United States was backed by all 15 Security Council member states.

The ceasefire regime does not cover the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations as well as other groups ruled terrorist by the Security Council.

Russia’s Aerospace Forces started delivering pinpoint strikes in Syria at facilities of Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra , which are banned in Russia, on September 30, 2015, on a request from Syrian President Bashar Assad.

On March 14, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to start, from March 15, withdrawing the main part of the Russian Aerospace Forces’ group from Syria. Putin said the tasks set before the military "have been fulfilled on the whole." Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov said strikes on terrorists will continue to be delivered.

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