Third de-escalation zone set up in Syria: Russia

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Moscow, Aug 3 (IANS) A third de-escalation zone has been set up in Syria based on an agreement reached last month, Russia’s Defence Ministry announced on Thursday.

“Under the agreement, from 12 p.m. onwards, detachments from the moderate opposition and government troops completely stopped fire from all types of weapons,” Defence Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.

The new zone, set up north of the city of Homs, includes 84 settlements with a population of over 147,000 people, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Starting on Friday, the Russian military police will deploy two border checkpoints and three observation posts in the sections along the contact line on the sides of the Homs de-escalation zone,” Konashenkov said.

The agreement does not apply to terrorist groups like the Islamic State (IS) and the Nusra Front, he added.

Participants in the talks on a peaceful settlement in Syria, held in Astana, Kazakhstan, agreed in July to set up four de-escalation zones in Syria, in which all kinds of hostilities would halt, aiming to ease tensions in the war-torn country.

One zone in southwestern Syria and the other in the Eastern Ghouta countryside of Damascus have already been established.

–IANS

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