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Russia to open new reconciliation center in Syria

So far, 1140 inhabited areas throughout Syria have had reconciliation agreements signed by community leaders. The number of armed groups observing the ceasefire remains at 104.

The Russian government will establish a new reconciliation center to fast track the brokering of peace negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition militant groups.

Set in agreement with the US-led coalition, the Russia-initiated reconciliation center will be established at Hmeimim air base in Latakia province and will start its operation on February 23. The center will funnel the issues and concerns of the government and the militant groups for the immediate formulation of the peace pact. It will also serve as the focal point for organizing humanitarian missions along conflict areas.

The current Russian monitoring reconciliation center reported an increase in the numbers of localities that joined the peace process since the ceasefire took effect on last December 29. In less than a month, a total of 1,140 localities signed their commitment to the cessation of hostilities, including 104 armed groups from Free Syrian Army.

“Talks on joining the cessation of hostilities are ongoing with the field commanders of armed opposition units in the provinces of Aleppo, Hama, Homs, and Quneitra,” according to the bulletin issued by the Russian peace monitoring center last weekend.

More than 60,000 forces from both the government and opposition sides supported the temporary truce. This signals a positive development in a bid to end the nearly six-year conflict that devastated Syria.

Aside from reducing areas of the country to rubble, the war has also displaced millions of the Syrian population and killed nearly 500,000 people. While humanitarian missions have been temporarily halted last week, special centers were opened in east Aleppo to provide meals and other essentials to affected residents.

Initiated by Russia and Turkey, the peace monitoring center, however, pointed out that the ceasefire agreement does not cover the Islamic State terrorist group. The Russian government continues its unrelenting air strikes on the IS-held territories in Syria, bombarding their camps, ammunition depots, and other facilities.

Written by Jun Pasaylo

Jun is multimedia journalist from the Philippines. He has wide array of experience in war reporting in Southeast Asia. His proficiency in journalism was anchored in his years of experience as field reporter in conflict areas.

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