Russian Defense Ministry Says Syrian Ceasefire Is Now In Force

Russian Defense Ministry Says Syrian Ceasefire Is Now In Force

The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed that the Russian and US-brokered ceasefire in Syria is effective as of 16:00 GMT on Monday.

They said that airstrikes against terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al-Nusra Front will continue as they are not part of the brokered agreement.

Chief of the General Staff’s Main Operational Directorate Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoy said: “In line with the [Russia-US] agreements, the ceasefire regime on the whole territory of the Syrian Arab Republic comes into force on Monday at 19:00 pm Moscow time [16:00 GMT]”

RT reports:

Moscow also says that the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria has established special monitoring groups in all Syrian provinces to observe the cessation of hostilities.

According to Moscow, a joint US-Russian Coordination Center will be established to decide on airstrikes conducted by US-led coalition planes and the Russian Air Force.

The creation of the center was earlier announced by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his US counterpart John Kerry in Geneva last Friday.

The start time of the truce was confirmed by Lieutenant General Sergey Rudskoy, chief of the main operations department of the Russian General Staff.

“In accordance with these agreements, the cessation of hostilities on the entire territory of the Syria Arab Republic resumes today, starting at 7pm Moscow time. The Russian side has completed all the necessary preparations for its [ceasefire] compliance,” Rudskoy said.

Rudskoy said Russia has “all the necessary capabilities” for monitoring the ceasefire situation in Syria. He added that the respective information on the state of the agreement would be provided to reporters for “objective coverage of the real situation.”

He also said that contact between the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria and the US monitoring group in Amman, Jordan, should be reinstated.

The Defense Ministry has urged one of the key opposition groups, the Free Syrian Army, to stop military action against Kurdish units in order to aid the ceasefire. The Kurdish forces are seen as one of the most effective powers on the ground fighting terrorists.

The so-called moderate Syrian opposition has issued a statement backing the ceasefire, TASS reports, citing Al-Arabiya. However, according to the rebel forces the expulsion of Al-Nusra Front from the deal “diminishes the chances of success for the agreement reached.”

Following the negotiations between Lavrov and Kerry, Washington urged the opposition forces it has been backing to stick to the deal announced in Geneva last Friday.

With airstrikes against the terrorists set to continue, Russia has still not received information from the US on the exact locations of Al-Nusra Front militants, said the chief of the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria, Lieutenant General Vladimir Savchenko.

“I want to stress that the fact that the US has still not provided information allowing the identification of the exact operational places of Jebhat al-Nusra in the combat areas is hampering the fruitful joint work on the cessation of hostilities.”

Syrian President Bashar Assad said on state TV on Monday that he is determined to drive out terrorists from all the territories they have seized. “The Syrian state is determined to recover every area from the terrorists,” he said.

The Syrian government has also given its “strict consent” for observation of the ceasefire, the Russian Reconciliation Center reported. Damascus says it will observe a seven-day ceasefire, TASS reports, citing Syrian local media.