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National reconciliation committee set up in Syria’s Afrin district

August 31, 2017, 10:15 UTC+3 LATAKIA

The committees comprise representatives of provincial authorities and armed opposition groups

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LATAKIA /Syria/, August 31. /TASS/. A national reconciliation committee has been set up in Syria’s largely Kurdish-populated district of Afrin upon Russia’s initiative, Deputy Commander of the Russian troops in Syria Lieutenant General Alexei Kim said. According to him, the committee was established in late August.

Members of the reconciliation committees active in the de-escalation zones have held the first joint video conference. The committees comprise representatives of provincial authorities and armed opposition groups, as well as officers of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the opposing sides in Syria.

"The most needy areas have been defined, a list of medicine that should be delivered there has been compiled, local schools have been inspected," Kim said. "A total of 26 schools need to be rebuilt and another 18 should be repaired… In 18 local settlements infrastructure facilities have been completely destroyed, so they need to be restored as soon as possible," the Russian general added. He also said that "preparations are underway to carry out a humanitarian mission in three local settlements. In September, 200 stationary sets will be distributed, they have already been handed over to the committee," the deputy commander of the Russian troops said.

A source in the Afrin district self-governing committee, in turn, said that school buildings had been destroyed in a number of settlements. Besides, local residents are in need of medicine, the list of the required medications has been sent to Russia’s representatives.

The Russian Defense Ministry said earlier that an office of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the opposing sides in Syria had been set up near the city of Afrin in the Aleppo Province. The line of contact between the Kurdish militia and the Turkey-controlled Free Syrian Army’s units runs through the area.

Syrian de-escalation zones

At the Astana meeting on Syria, the guarantors of the Syrian ceasefire (Russia, Iran and Turkey) signed a memorandum on setting up de-escalation zones in the war-torn country.

De-escalation zones include the Idlib Province, some parts of its neighboring areas in the Latakia, Hama and Aleppo Provinces north of the city of Homs, Eastern Ghouta, as well as the Daraa and al-Quneitra Provinces in southern Syria.

Starting from May 6, military activities and aircraft flights in the de-escalation zones are banned. At the same time, Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed to take all the necessary measures to continue fighting against terrorists on these territories and in the rest of Syria.

The memorandum will remain in effect for six months and can be automatically extended for another six months.

Three de-escalation zones have already been established, while the fourth zone in the Idlib Province is being set up.

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