Russian Military Reports Cease-Fire in Syria – Smart Media Magazine

Russian Military Reports Cease-Fire in Syria

MOSCOW — Two Russian news agencies reported late Wednesday that the Russian military had announced a cease-fire agreement to halt the fighting between Syrian government and rebel forces in northwest Syria.

The reports said the cease-fire was negotiated between Russia, which backs the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, and Turkey, which controls much of Syria’s northwest.

According to the reports from RIA and Interfax, Russian state news agencies, a Russian major general, Viktor Kupchishin, said that the cease-fire had taken effect and that firing from rebel positions had declined.

But Syrian civilians in the area said there had been heavy shelling and bombing from pro-government forces on Wednesday. They said that military operations seemed to have slowed after midnight but that there was still activity from reconnaissance planes.

The Russian reports did not say when hostilities were supposed to cease or how long the cease-fire was to last.

The reports indicated that the cease-fire had taken effect after midnight on Tuesday, but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said it had begun at midnight on Wednesday, after an evening of intense airstrikes, which the group had counted at 25.

If the fighting does freeze, it would end more than a month of violence in Idlib province, the last rebel-held territory that remains in Syria after eight years of civil war.

A Turkish-Russian agreement had kept the area calm until pro-government forces began attacking it with airstrikes, shelling and ground troops in the spring, forcing more than a quarter of a million people to flee to makeshift open-air campsites, closing hospitals and schools, and killing at least 160 civilians. Officials said the actual number of deaths was likely much greater.

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