LATAKIA /Syria/, October 31. /TASS/. Russian military officers have ensured the delivery of humanitarian aid provided by the United Nations and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to the Eastern Ghouta suburb of Damascus, where a de-escalation zone has been established.
The Syrian government does not control Eastern Ghouta, where several armed opposition groups are deployed, while a ceasefire has been declared in the area. Russia, the Syrian government and the United Nations have been regularly delivering humanitarian aid to Eastern Ghouta. Officers of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the opposing sides in Syria have been negotiating on the delivery of goods, while Russian military police have been ensuring the security of humanitarian convoys.
This time, a convoy consisting of 53 trucks delivered a total of 365 tonnes of food products and medicine for 40,000 residents of the Kafr Batna and Saqba settlements.
According to Yuri Klimov, a spokesman for the Russian Center for Reconciliation, the convoy was formed in accordance with agreements achieved with the Syrian opposition back in August. "They recently gave us a permission to escort the convoy. Russia has been abiding by its obligations as a guarantor of the Astana talks, so the Center’s officers assist in escorting humanitarian convoys to Eastern Ghouta," he told reporters.
In accordance with a decision made by Russia, Iran and Turkey - the guarantors of the Syrian ceasefire - in May 2017, de-escalation zones began to be set up in Syria. In mid-September, the guarantor countries announced the establishment of all the four de-escalation zones.
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 in the de-escalation zones are banned.
In October, the media reported that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura had discussed ways to move from the establishment of de-escalation zones to a sustainable political settlement in Syria, but no details were provided.