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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian Military Police Deployed to Monitor Syria Safe Zones

By VOA News July 24, 2017

Russia has started to deploy military police to Syria to monitor a cease-fire in two newly established safe zones, Russian authorities said Monday.

Col. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi said Russian forces had set up checkpoints and monitoring posts around safe zones in southwest Syria and in Eastern Ghouta - a suburb of Damascus.

In May, Russia, Iran, and Turkey approved a plan to establish four safe zones in Syria in an effort to de-escalate the six-year-old conflict. Under the plan, Syrian President Bashar Assad's military and air force will cease operations in the designated areas.

About 2.5 million people live in the four zones.

The cease-fire between Assad forces and Syrian rebels in Eastern Ghouta was negotiated Saturday under Egyptian mediation in Cairo.

The Russian military said that the cease-fire agreement "fix[es] the borders of the de-escalation zone, locations, and authorities of the forces observing the de-escalation, as well as routes for delivery of humanitarian aid and free movement of the civilians," according to the Russian press agency TASS.

More than 330,000 people have been killed in Syria since 2011, when anti-government protests grew into a civil war.

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