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Syrian authorities in control of considerable part of country — Russian defense ministry

April 08, 2016, 19:42 UTC+3 AL-QARYATAYN

Over the past six months, the government troops and patriotic forces backed by the Russian air group have liberated about 500 settlements, tens of thousands of square kilometers, the ministry reports

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Aleppo, Syria

Aleppo, Syria

© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

AL-QARYATAYN /Syria/, April 8. /TASS/. A considerable part of Syria’s territory is under government control, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Friday.

"Over the past six months, the government troops and patriotic forces backed by the Russian air group have liberated about 500 settlements, tens of thousands of square kilometers. A considerable part of the territory is under control of the pro-government forces," he said at a special briefing in the city of Al-Qaryatayn in the Syrian province of Homs.

He said government control can be established only in those settlements where state authorities are present. He cited as an example the city of Al-Qaryatayn which was liberated by the Syrian army several days ago. "There are no populated localities within about 30 kilometers from the city and, naturally, the entire territory is controlled by governmental forces. Local administration is returning to these areas," Konashenkov said. "There are hundreds times more of such territories as compared with October 2015. And this process is gaining momentum. Local residents now have a hope that the country may be liberated from international terrorism.

According to the Russian defense ministry spokesman, practically the entire province of Latakia, most of territories in the provinces of Hama and Homs, the city of Palmyra and settlements in other provinces have been liberated from terrorists. He drew attention to the fact that many liberated settlements declare ceasefire with the authorities thanks to efforts of officers of the Russian center for reconciliation of the warring parties based at the Hmeimim airbase. "There are about 60 such settlements as of today. Twenty settlements more are in talks with officers of the Russian reconciliation center on signing ceasefire documents," he added.

He also said that about 50 various armed groups have by now signed ceasefire documents. "All of this determines peace processes in Syria and, obviously, considerable progress has been reached, Konashenkov underscored.

A ceasefire regime brokered by Russia and the United States on February 22 officially came into effect in Syria at midnight Damascus time on February 27. This does not cover terrorist groups such as Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, both outlawed in Russia, and other groups recognized as terrorist by the United Nations Security Council.

An hour before the ceasefire came into force, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution in support 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.

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