Only Syrian troops observe truce: Russian Defense Ministry
People's Daily Online
(Xinhua) 15:50, September 17, 2016
MOSCOW, Sept. 16 (Xinhua)-- The Syrian government troops alone are observing a ceasefire agreement in the war-torn country brokered by Russia and the United States, the Russian Defense Ministry said Friday.
"All attempts by our American partners to show the world at least some manageability of the opposition it supports in Syria have so far proved unsuccessful," the ministry's spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.
Officers of the Russian center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria, based near the city of Aleppo and the Castello highway, confirmed the willingness of the Syrian forces to completely withdraw their units and equipment in synchrony with the opposition to agreed distances, it said.
Lt. Gen. Viktor Poznikhir, first deputy head of the main directorate of the Russian General Staff, was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying that the Syrian government troops had effectively withdrawn tanks, combat infantry vehicles and artillery to the established distances to create a demilitarized zone.
But no response was observed from the opposition groups, which had breached the ceasefire agreement 144 times since it took effect, including 39 times in the past 24 hours, Poznikhir said.
However, Russia is ready to extend the Syrian ceasefire regime for 72 hours as part of Geneva accords despite numerous violations, he said.
The agency quoted another Russian official, Col. Sergei Kapitsyn, a senior operative of the Aleppo group, as saying during a video conference on Friday that the Syrian government troops had to be "redeployed to the initial positions to prevent the enemy from taking over the demilitarized zone."
In a separate development, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov informed his U.S. counterpart John Kerry in a telephone conversation about the reluctance of the opposition to observe the truce.
Kerry promised to "push forward the solution of the problems involving the necessity to duly formalize humanitarian convoys under UN rules, as well as threats of illegal armed groups in the Aleppo area not to let humanitarian aid into the eastern part of the city," a ministry statement said.
The United States and Russia announced on Saturday a landmark agreement on a week-long nationwide ceasefire in Syria from Monday.
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