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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Russia: Syrian army declares unilateral truce in Idlib

Iran Press TV

Mon May 20, 2019 08:38AM

Russia says Syrian government forces have suspended their operations against foreign-backed Takfiri militants in the northwestern province of Idlib as part of a "unilateral" ceasefire.

"From 00:00 on May 18, Syrian armed forces unilaterally ceased fire in the Idlib de-escalation zone," Russian Defense Ministry's Center for Syrian Reconciliation said in a statement on Sunday.

The demilitarized zone surrounds Idlib and also includes parts of the adjacent provinces of Aleppo and Hama.

The statement said despite the ceasefire, "firing targeting government forces' positions and civilians in the provinces of Hama, Latakia and Aleppo continues."

The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said the army launched a retaliatory attack on Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) positions after the terrorist group fired rockets and mortar shells at the northern part of Hama province.

HTS, which is a coalition of different factions of terror outfits largely composed of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist group, holds a large part of the province and the zone.

The army has ratcheted up its operations in Idlib to counter numerous flagrant terrorist violations of an earlier de-escalation agreement.

Under the agreement signed between Russia and Turkey last year, Takfiri groups in Idlib had to withdraw from areas bordering Syrian government-controlled territory, but they have refused to do so.

During a UN Security Council meeting on Friday, Iran's Ambassador to the UN Majid Takht-Ravanchi warned that continued terrorist presence in the Syrian territory is endangering civilian lives.

The Iranian envoy described the situation in Idlib as critical, saying terrorist groups were using "over two million civilians as human shields".

Syria's UN Ambassador Bashar al-Ja'afari also called for a halt to foreign support for terrorists operating in the province.

"Ending the suffering of Syrians in Idlib requires stopping hypocrisy and politicization and investment in terrorists and manipulating peoples' destinies and lives," he said.

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