Syrian Front: The Continued Implementation of the Cessation of Hostilities

Syrian Front: Russia Will Redeploy to Syria if Necessary


Report of the Russian Centre for reconciliation of opposing sides in the Syrian Arab Republic (March 18, 2016)

General information on the application of measures for the reconciliation of opposing sides

The total number of settlements, the leaders of which have signed reconciliation agreements, has remained 51.

Ceasefire negotiations with elders of two towns in the Damascus regions are continued.

The number of ceasefire application forms signed with leaders of armed groupings has remained 43.

Specialists of the Russian Centre for reconciliation of opposing sides held consultations with leaders of opposition political parties and movements active in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Results of ceasefire monitoring

In the course of last 24 hours, 5 ceasefire violations have been registered (Damascus – 3, Aleppo and Idlib – 1 for each).

A fact of violating ceasefire regime with usage of heavy armament has been registered. Militants of the illegal armed formation Sultan Murad Brigade opened fire with multiple rocket launch systems against Kurdish militia detachments in Sheikh Maqsood district (Aleppo).

Other ceasefire violations have been carried out with usage of mortars and small arms. Jaysh al-Islam formations carried out a mortar attack against positions of the government troops near Hteitet al-Jarash and Zibdin (Damascus province).

Humanitarian aid to the population of Syria

Operational groups of the Centre for reconciliation monitored humanitarian situation in the provinces of Aleppo and Damascus.

Humanitarian convoy to Harasta (Damascus province) is being formed.

Additional information

In the course of last 24 hours, the Russian Centre for reconciliation has received 26 appeals from citizens for providing assistance in searching for the unaccounted for or kidnapped by militants.

Implementation of measures aimed at ceasefire establishment in the Syrian Arab Republic has been continued since February 27 within bilateral joint agreements between Russia and the United States


Briefing of Chief of the Main Operational Directorate General Sergei Rudskoy (March 18, 2016)

Within bilateral joint agreements between Russia and the United States, implementation of measures aimed at ceasefire establishment in the Syrian Arab Republic has been continued since February 27, 2016.

Round-the-clock work of the Centre for reconciliation of opposing sides at the Hmeymim airbase has been continued. Constructive interaction between representatives of the US authorized body in Jordan and operational ceasefire centre of the International Syria Support Group in Geneva has been established. They are sharing information at least twice a day.

Reconciliation process is under way. In total, 43 ceasefire application forms have been signed with leaders of “moderate opposition” armed formations, including Khalafi Turki al Khasan, the commander of the Army of Tribes active in Tell Abiad (Homs province). By mediation of the Russian Federation, truce agreements have been achieved with heads of administration in 51 town and village (Hama province – 37 ones, Homs – 6 ones, Damascus and Daraa – by 4 in each). The number of achieved agreements is increasing steadily.

Today, negotiations with representatives of local authorities and elders in the premises of Damascus, Hama, al-Hazala (Homs province), and Deir Ali (Daraa province) are to be held.

Ceasefire regime has caused significant stabilization of situation in Syria. Citizens of several regions of Syria returned to peaceful life owing to decrease of mutual shellfire.

The Russian Defence Ministry informs the public every day.

The Russian Centre for reconciliation registered dozens of ceasefire violations during the first days of truce regime. However, in the course of the last 24 hours, the Centre has registered just 5 ones.

ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra armed groupings are seeking to prevent signing agreements despite achieved progress in ceasefire between detachments of “moderate” opposition and units of the Syrian Armed Forces. In order to reach the aim, illegal armed groupings continue shelling positions of the government troops, militia and inhabited areas in Damascus, and provinces of Homs, Aleppo and Latakia.

The Centre for reconciliation of opposing sides immediately registers all facts of the ceasefire violation and informs the parties involved through representatives in Amman (Jordan) and Geneva (Switzerland).

Owing to peaceful dialogue establishing, it became possible to organize delivering of humanitarian aid to towns and villages, which had lately been controlled by armed formations of “moderate” opposition.

144 tons of humanitarian cargos have been delivered to the Hmeymim airbase from Russia this week in order to provide humanitarian aid to the Syrian people. Food products, drinking water and articles of first necessity are the basis of the cargos.

The Russian Centre for reconciliation has delivered humanitarian cargos to more than hundred towns. The cargos contained food products, drinking water, articles of first necessity and medicaments. Moreover, medical specialists are arriving in towns in order to provide medical assistance to people, who had not received it for years.

According to the Russian Defence Ministry, measures, which had been taken by the Armed Forces to build up dialogue between sides of the Syrian conflict, are promoting truce regime in the territory of Syria. More and more detachments of Syrian opposition are joining the ceasefire regime, and this fact instills confidence that the process would become inconvertible.

Withdrawal of the main part of the Russian Aerospace Forces’ aviation group is carried out according to the approved plans.

According to the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Aerospace Forces, aviation echelons with Su-24M, Su-25 and Su-34 have returned to their permanent bases in the territory of Russia.

Now the army aviation and logistic units are being prepared for redeployment, which is to be performed according to the schedule. A part of hardware and cargos will be projected by military transport aviation, another – by sea transport.

At the same time the Aerospace Forces continue making strikes against ISIS formations.

Recently the government troops and patriotic forces supported by the Russian Aerospace Forces have been conducting a large-scale operation aimed at liberation of the Palmyra city. On average, Russian aircraft carry out 20-25 combat sorties every day.

Units of the Syrian army have taken control over the commanding points and main highways, depriving militants from supplies of munitions and military hardware.

Conditions were created for encirclement and complete defeat of the ISIS militants in Palmyra.

In conclusion it is to be mentioned that the Russian Aerospace Forces will continue air strikes against the ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist groupings in the territory of Syria.

Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation


Russian General Staff: Russian Air Force continues sorties against ISIS and Jabaht al-Nusra sites in Syria (Full Report Above ↑)
18 March، 2016
Moscow, SANA

The Russian General Staff affirmed on Friday that the Russian Air Force continues its sorties against the sites of terrorist organizations in Syria.

Chief of the main operations department of the Russian General Staff Sergey Rudskoy said in a statement published by RT website that the Russian Air Force conducts 25 sorties daily against the sites of Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS.

He added that the Syrian armed forces backed by the Russian Air Force are conducting a large-scale operation to restore control over Tadmour (Palmyra) city.

“Everything necessary has been provided for the encirclement and definitive defeat of ISIS in Palmyra,” Rudskoy said, adding that the Syrian Army had already taken control over all dominant heights and major roads around the city. The terrorists’ logistical support has also been cut off.

The Russian Center for Coordinating and observing the cessation of hostilities in Hmeimeem said that 5 breaches of the cessation of hostilities by terrorists were observed during the past 24 hours, raising the number of breaches to 247 since the agreement came into force.

The Russian Center is operating round-the-clock at Hmeimeem air base in coordination with the US center in Jordan and a ceasefire center set up by the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) based in Geneva.

“They exchange information at least twice a day,” Rudskoy clarified.

He pointed out that measures taken by the Russian Armed Forces to promote inter-Syrian dialogue are contributing to enhancing the cessation of hostilities, adding that the increase in the number of the armed groups joining the agreement which reached 43 inspires confidence that this process will become irreversible.

He revealed that reconciliation agreements have been signed with mayors of 51 towns by virtue of Russia’s mediation, including 37 towns in Hama countryside, 6 towns in Homs, 4 towns in Damascus Countryside and 4 towns the countryside of Daraa.

Rudskoy pointed out that the situation in Syria is witnessing the gradual return of stability since the cessation of hostilities agreement came into force, adding that the decline in the intensity of hostilities has allowed residents of a number of areas to return to their homes.

Later, the Russian Defense Ministry stated that the armed group known as “Liwa’a al-Sultan Murad” (Sultan Murad Brigade) opened fire with heavy artillery on several areas in Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood in the northern part of Aleppo city.

Manar al-Frieh/Manal


Russian warplanes supported Syrian forces in operation to free Palmyra

(Full Report Above ↑ in Official Russian MoD Statement)

MOSCOW, March 18. /TASS/. Russia’s Aerospace Forces continue delivering airstrikes at terrorist targets in Syria, and Russian jets make 20-25 sorties daily to support the operation to free Palmyra, Lieutenant General Sergey Rudskoy, chief of the main operations department of the Russian General Staff, said on Friday.

“A large-scale operation to free the city of Palmyra has been carried out recently by government forces and patriotic forces with support from Russia’s Aerospace Forces. On average, Russian jets make 20-25 sorties daily,” Rudskoy told reporters.

“Conditions have been created for encircling and routing the armed units of ISIS [former name of the Islamic State terrorist group outlawed in Russia – TASS] in Palmyra,” Rudskoy said.

According to him, the Syrian military have established control over the dominant hills and major traffic areas, shut off the routes to deliver ammunition and materiel to gunmen.

“I want to stress that the Russian Aerospace Force will continue delivering strikes against the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations in Syria,” he said.

Part of equipment from Syria to be transported by sea

The official however noted that preparations for return of aviation and support units from Syria to Russia proceed according to plan

“Preparations are currently underway for relocation of army aviation and support units that will be carried out in accordance with the schedule,” Rudskoy said.

He noted that main part of aviation task force is being withdrawn in strict accordance with the plan. “The group of Su-24M, Su-25 and Su-34 jets, as Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces Col. Gen. (Viktor) Bondarev already noted, already returned to aerodromes of permanent deployment on the territory of Russia,” Rudskoy said.

According to the official, ship transport will be used to return equipment and cargoes of the Russian aviation task force from Syria.

“Part of equipment and cargoes will be transported by planes of Military Transport Aviation, another part – by ship transport,” Rudskoy said.

The Kremlin press service released a statement on March 14 that the Russian and Syrian presidents, Vladimir Putin and Bashar Assad, agreed to start withdrawing the main part of the Russian aviation task force from Syria because the Russian Aerospace Forces had fulfilled the fundamental tasks which had been assigned to them. Russia’s Aerospace Forces started delivering strikes in Syria at facilities of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist groups (both banned in Russia) on September 30, 2015.

Russia will leave an air flight control center in the Syrian territory that will monitor the observation of the Syrian ceasefire, the Kremlin said. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu ordered starting the Russian troops’ withdrawal as of March 15. Earlier today Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolay Pankov said that Russian forces will continue delivering airstrikes as terrorists in Syria.
247 ceasefire violations since February

Russia’s center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria has registered 247 episodes of ceasefire violations in a period since February 27, of which five were registered in the past day.

“In all, 247 episodes of ceasefire violation have been registered since February 27, including five – in the past five days,” Rudskoy said.

He said that the number of such cases has been decreasing in the past days. “Whereas the Russian center reported dozens of episodes of ceasefire violations on the first day of reconciliation, in the past day there were only five such cases,” the official said.

“Measures to promote dialogue between the parties to the intra-Syrian conflict taken by the Russian Armed Forces contribute to the ceasefire regime,” Rudskoy said.

According to him, currently “more and more Syrian opposition units are joining the truce, which inspires confidence that this process will become irreversible.”

A ceasefire process has been under way in Syria. “Forty-three documents, in which the commanders of ‘moderate opposition’ armed units gave their consent to cease the hostilities, have been signed. They include Halafi Turki al-Hassan, the commander of the Tribes army operating in Et Tell el-Abyad province,” Rudskoi stressed.

“Russia-mediated agreements have been reached with administration chiefs in 51 populated localities: 37 – in Hama province; 6 – in Homs; 4 – in Damascus and Daraa provinces, respectively. Their number is constantly on the rise,” Rudskoy added.

“The introduction of the ceasefire regime has considerably stabilized the situation in the country; the population in various parts of Syria managed to return to peaceful life as the warring parties had reciprocally reduced the intensity of shelling,” the general stressed.

The Russian center for reconciliation of the warring parties, which operates round-the-clock at the Hmeymim air base, contributes to the ongoing reconciliation process. It has established constructive interaction with representatives the US coordination center in Jordan and a ceasefire center set up by the International Syria Support Group based in Geneva.

“They exchange information at least twice a day,” Rudskoy clarified.


Army foils ISIS attack in Hama countryside, eliminates terrorists in Deir Ezzor and Homs
18 March، 2016
Provinces, SANA

The Army and Armed Forces continued on Friday counter-terrorism operations, foiling an attempted attack by ISIS in Hama province and inflicting losses on ISIS members in Homs and Deir Ezzor.

Hama

An Army unit targeted ISIS hideouts in Wadi al-Ezeib area in the eastern countryside of Hama province, a military source told SANA.

A vehicle equipped with a heavy machinegun was destroyed and a number of terrorists were killed or injured in the army’s operation.

Another army unit, in cooperation with the popular defense groups, ambushed a group of ISIS terrorists who tried to attack a military post northeast of al-Mufakker al-Sharqi village, 20 km east of Salamiyeh city.

The attack was foiled, with most of the group’ members getting killed or injured and two vehicles destroyed, one equipped with a heavy machinegun and the other loaded with arms and ammunition.

Deir Ezzor

An Army unit launched concentrated operations during the last 24 hours against the gatherings and sites of ISIS terrorist organization in al-Jafra area to the west of Deir Ezzor city.

A number of terrorists were confirmed dead during the operations in addition to destroying mortar launchers which terrorists were using in targeting Deir Ezzor Military Airport and the residential neighborhoods in the western parts of Deir Ezzor city.

The army also eliminated ISIS gatherings in the southern parts of Deir Ezzor city in the area surrounding the highway leading to Palmyra city during the past 48 hours.

Homs

Army units made progress in operations against ISIS in the countryside of Palmyra city in Homs province, eliminating the last of the remaining ISIS terrorists in Areen hill.

Sources confirmed that many ISIS members were killed and injured in army operations in in the heights and hills surrounding the strategic 900 hill in al-Hayyal mountain range west of Palmyra.


Woman killed, 6 citizens injured in terrorist rocket attack on Aleppo
18 March، 2016
Aleppo, SANA

A woman was killed on Friday in a terrorist rocket attack on al-Midan neighborhood in Aleppo city.

A source at Aleppo Police Command told SANA reporter that terrorists fired a rocket shell on al-Midan neighborhood, killing a woman and injuring 6 other citizens.

Terrorist organizations continue to breach the cessation of hostilities agreement by targeting the residential areas in Aleppo city with rocket and mortar shells.

Manar al-Frieh/Manal