Russian presence speeding up peace process: Syrian minister
Iran Press TV
Sun Apr 10, 2016 12:31AM
Russian forces have vastly accelerated the peace process in Syria since joining the battle against terrorism in the war-ravaged country, the Syrian reconciliation minister says.
"Over six months since joining the fight against terrorism on the Syrian territory, Russia has accelerated the process of reconciliation in the country," Syrian State Minister for National Reconciliation Affairs Ali Haidar said on Saturday.
Russia has been conducting airstrikes on the positions of Daesh and other militant groups in Syria based on a request by the government in Damascus since September 30 last year.
Haidar also noted that Moscow has encouraged large numbers of armed opposition groups to accept a US-and-Russia-sponsored ceasefire which came into force on February 27.
The truce was brokered between the Syrian government and dozens of militant groups operating in the country. Daesh and al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front terrorist groups are excluded from the ceasefire.
On March 14, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial military pull-out from Syria; however forces remain at the Hmeimim airbase in Latakia and at the Tartus naval base to help maintain the ceasefire.
Last month, Russia set up a center at Hmeimim to monitor the ceasefire and has been providing almost daily reports of violations of the cessation of hostiles.
Haidar added that so far at least 50 groups have signed agreements for participating in the truce, despite some regional countries' attempts to hinder the process.
"Most of all, this process is hampered by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar that through various channels continue to support the militants in Syria," he said.
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