The Russians Are Moving Decisively and Rapidly To Implement a Truce in Syria
Feb. 27, 2016 (EIRNS)—The Russian Defense Ministry held a briefing this morning with General Sergei Rudskoi of the General Staff and Lt. Gen. Sergei Kuralenko, the director of the coordination center that the Russians have set up at their Latakia airbase in Syria. Rudskoi announced that the Russian air forces have suspended air strikes in the so-called “green zone,” in the areas and on those armed formations which have sent ceasefire applications to the Russian party. Seventeen armed formations which addressed the Command of the Hmeymim airbase and signed application documents are also bound to respect the ceasefire. They continue fighting ISIS, some in cooperation with the Syrian army, some on their own.
The main missions of the Center are: assistance in conclusion of ceasefire agreements and maintenance of the regime of the cessation of hostilities with the leaders of armed formations, monitoring of its implementation, as well as organization of humanitarian cargo deliveries to the civilian population, Kuralenko said.
The Center has received hundreds of phone calls and “officers of the Center have held 49 negotiations with representatives of the armed formations,” the Defense Ministry said. “By the moment, the Center is preparing for signing necessary documents with representatives of local authorities in 47 inhabited areas in the provinces of Hama, Homs, Damascus and Daraa.”
A similar center has been set up by the U.S. in Amman and “hotlines” have been setup between the U.S. and Russian centers, Rudskoi said.
“Especially for information exchange with the American colleagues, there has been elaborated an operational map of Syria which has been passed to the American party in the course of the bilateral consultations in Amman on Feb. 26, as well as through the military diplomatic channels. The map contains marked areas which designate places where the peacemaking work is conducted, as well as the zones with the Syrian government troops and Kurdish territories; there are also marked the territories controlled by the ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and other armed formations,”
Rudskoi went on.
“Representatives of the United States have been sent a list of the armed formations with total strength of 6,111 people, which have joined the ceasefire regime as well as a list of 74 inhabited areas and zones with exact coordinates which must not be affected by strikes.”
Ceasefire violations are to be reported to the two centers which
“jointly or independently take measures aimed to stop the ceasefire violation and to de-escalate the tension as soon as possible.”
As for the truce, Kuralenko reported that fighting has stopped in 34 localities and that agreements on the cease fire and transfers to government control have been signed in three settlements.
“The Russian party fully implements its ceasefire obligations,” Rudskoi said.
“However, it does not mean that the ISIS or the Jabhat al-Nusra militants can give a sign of relief. The Russian party fully controls the situation all over the territory of Syria. Meanwhile not less than 70 unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as space and other types of reconnaissance are used every day.”
The Russians may not be flying strike sorties, today, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t paying attention to what’s going on. The Defense Ministry added that 70 aircraft are monitoring the ceasefire in Syria with the assistance of reconnassance aircraft, surveillance satellites and other intelligence methods.