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Three more Syrian settlements join ceasefire in past day — Russian reconciliation center

March 21, 19:17 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Over the past 24 hours, the government forces regained control over 5.6 square kilometers
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MOSCOW, March 21. /TASS/. Three populated localities have joined the ceasefire in Syria in the past day, the Russian center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria said in its regular daily news bulletin posted on the Russian defense ministry’s official website on Tuesday.

"During the day, ceasefire agreements were signed with three settlements, namely Anz, Sahwed al-Hodor and Deir-Al-Laban in As-Suwayda province," the center said, adding that the overall number of Syrian settlements that have joined the reconciliation process has reached 1,365.

Over the past 24 hours, the government forces regained control over 5.6 square kilometers, the bulletin said.

Russian officers in the Russian-Turkish joint commission set up to monitor ceasefire violations in Syria reported seven ceasefire violations - two in Damascus province and five in Latakia province. Turkish officers reported 15 ceasefire violations, but the Russian side found no confirmation to any of them.

Medical assistance

Russian military medics have offered medical assistance to more than 15,500 civilians in Syria since the launch of a humanitarian operation in that country, Lieutenant General Alexei Kim, the chief of the Russian center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria, said on Tuesday.

The Russian Defense Ministry declared the establishment of the reconciliation center on February 23, 2016. It is headquartered at the Hmeymim air base, Latakia province. The center was set up in line with agreements reached by Russia and the United States to facilitate the negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition and to organize humanitarian deliveries.

"The center’s personnel includes groups of medics. They accompany each humanitarian convoy to Syrian settlement as there are no doctors in many of them," he said at a meeting with a visiting delegation of Russian and European lawmakers.

According to Kim, more than 15,000 civilians have been able to receive medical aid. Apart from that, in his words, Russian medics offer targeted humanitarian assistance. Thus, a wheelchair was handed over to a Syrian national in February.

The Russian center has organized humanitarian deliveries to about 11,000 civilians in 310 populated localities in Syria, he added.

"Before the end of March we plan to sign 43 more agreements on cessation of hostilities," the general said. In particular, areas around Palmyra are expected to shortly join the ceasefire after Palmyra was liberated from terrorists early in March.

Kim said at the moment 1,368 settlements have joined the ceasefire. Russia is guarantor of abidance by the commitments within the framework of these agreements.

"This is a difficult process. We have to agree with both sides to see the commitments met," he noted at a meeting at the Russian air base Hmeimim.

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