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Two militants’ drones downed by Syrian troops in Latakia governorate

Chief of the Russian reconciliation center Alexey Bakin said that illegal armed groups continue to violate the ceasefire in the Idlib de-escalation zone

MOSCOW, October 18. /TASS/. Two drones operated by militants were downed by Syrian troops in the settlement of Kbana in the Latakia governorate, Major General Alexey Bakin, chief of the Russian Center for reconciliation of the conflicting sides in Syria, said on Friday.

"Units of the Syrian government army downed two unmanned aerial vehicles launched by militants in the southwesterly direction near the settlement of Kbana in the Latakia governorate," Bakin said.

According to Bakin, illegal armed groups continue to violate the ceasefire in the Idlib de-escalation zone. Thus, 15 settlements in the Latakia, Idlib and Hama governorates came under shelling by militants during the day.

Four de-escalation zones were established in Syria under as agreement reached by the three Syrian ceasefire guarantor nations, namely Russia, Iran and Turkey, in May 2017. Three of them are now controlled by Damascus while the fourth one located in the Idlib governorate and partially in the neighboring Latakia, Hama and Aleppo governorates, is still outside Damascus’ control, with a larger part of it being seized by Jabhat al-Nusra (a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia) militants.

The Russian reconciliation center continues to fulfill assigned tasks after the completion of the military campaign in Syria. The center’s officers regularly travel around the country's liberated areas to assess the humanitarian situation. The main efforts of the Russian military are now focused on assistance to the refugees returning to their homes and evacuation of civilians from de-escalation zones.

Turkey's military operation in Syria

Bakin also said that possible release of terrorists from detention centers and uncontrolled disbandment of refugee camps may entail a dramatic deterioration of the situation in the entire Middle East.

"There is a threat of the loss of control over the functioning and safeguarding detention centers for Islamic State [a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia] militants and their family members, and camps for internally displaced persons that are located on the territories previously controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces and US servicemen. Possible release of terrorists, uncontrolled and unorganized disbandment of refugee camps may provoke a dramatic deterioration of the situation in the entire Middle East region," he said.

According to Bakin, the humanitarian situation in northeastern Syria is tense on the backdrop of Turkey’s military operation in that region.

On October 9, Ankara launched its Peace Spring military operation in northern Syria. The operation is geared to establish a buffer zone in Syria’s northern regions, along the Turkish border, where Syrian refugees could return from Turkey. Syria’s SANA news agency slammed Ankara’s operation as an act of aggression. The world community has condemned Ankara’s actions.

On October 17, the United States and Turkey reached an agreement to suspend combat operation. Turkey agreed to cease fire for a span of 120 hours to give Kurdish units of the Syrian Democratic Forces time to leave the area of the border security zone Ankara is seeking to create.