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Armed opposition freezing preparations to Astana talks — Free Syrian Army

January 03, 8:03 updated at: January 03, 8:50 UTC+3 BEIRUT

The Free Syrian Army and its allies have warned they are suspending preparations to the talks in Astana "until violations of the ceasefire are ceased"

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BEIRUT, January 3. /TASS/. Armed groups of the Syrian opposition have requested "compliance with the truce agreement" from Damascus. According to a joint statement of 12 organizations headed by the so-called Free Syrian Army, which was published by Al Arabiya TV channel, they are "freezing all contacts related to preparations to Astana talks planned for end-January 2017."

The statement says that the government army and additional units have repeatedly violated the ceasefire regime in Wadi Barada valley and the Eastern Guta region near Damascus, as well as in Hama and Daraa provinces. The Free Syrian Army and its allies have warned they are suspending preparations to the talks in Astana "until violations of the ceasefire are ceased."

Meanwhile, local newspaper Al-Watan close to the government reported that the militants and rebels returned the fire on the contender’s positions several times. SANA news agency said the positions of terrorists of the Islamic State and Jabhat Al-Nusra (both banned in Russia), which are not covered by the ceasefire regime, were attacked. The ceasefire regime in Syria entered into force on October 20, 2016.

According to the bulletin of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Parties in Syria, on Monday 34 attacks from armed forces in the provinces of Damascus (16), Latakia (7), Aleppo (6) and Hama (5) were recorded.

Russian aerospace forces and Syrian air forces did not strike out on opposition armed forces that had announced ceasefire and revealed their whereabouts to the Russian and US reconciliation centers.

Peace talks in Astana

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on December 29 that the Syrian government and the armed opposition had reached agreements on ceasefire and readiness to begin peace talks. Three documents were inked. The first agreement deals with stopping combat operations on the Syrian territory, the second, with a set of measures to control the ceasefire, and the third is a statement on preparedness for direct talks on peace settlement.

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