Igor Konashenkov - Russian defense ministry spokesman - Wikimedia Commons
CAIRO - 3 August 2017: For the second time in less than two weeks, Egypt, in cooperation with Russia, managed to reach an agreement to create a "de-escalation" zone in the northern Homs countryside.
The deal, which is set to take effect on Thursday, falls within President Abdel Fatah al- Sisi's keenness to stop bloodletting in Syria and protect the lives of the Syrian people.
Earlier, Egypt managed to reach a deal to de-escalate conflict in the Eastern Ghouta region in Damascus.
Egypt also hosted a meeting between the Russian side and representatives of the Syrian opposition factions that culminated in clinching this ceasefire agreement.
Representatives of the Russian Defense Ministry and moderate Syrian opposition reached an agreement during their meeting in Cairo on operations of the third de-escalation zone in Syria, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Thursday.
Konashenkov said: "On July 31, Cairo hosted regular negotiations between representatives of the Russian Defense Ministry and moderate Syrian opposition. Agreements on the functioning of the third de-escalation zone in Syria, north of Homs, were reached at the meeting," the Russian news agency Sputnik reported.
Moreover, moderate Syrian opposition and the Syrian army are fully ceasing fire in the Homs de-escalation zone from midday [09:00 GMT] on Thursday, Konashenkov said.
"According to the agreements, today, on August 3 at noon local time the units of military opposition and divisions of the Syrian government troops are fully ceasing fire from all types of weapons," Konashenkov said.
Besides, Russian military police will set up on August 4 two border checkpoints and three observation posts in Syria’s Homs de-escalation zone, Konashenkov said.
"Starting on August 4, the Russian military police will set up two border checkpoints … and three observation posts … in areas of line of contact of sides of the Homs de-escalation zone," Konashenkov said.
In May, the participants of the talks in Astana agreed on establishing four safe zones in Syria as part of the de-escalation process. The first one, in the north of the country, covers the province of Idlib and neighboring districts of Latakia, Aleppo and Homs. The second is in the north of the province of Homs. The third is located in the south of Syria, in the Quneitra and Daraa provinces, while the fourth one is in the Eastern Ghouta.
Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with opposition factions and terrorist groups such as Daesh and al Nusra Front, now known as Jabhat Fatah al Sham, both outlawed in Russia and the United States, fighting the Syrian Army.
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