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Russia Continues To Organize Syria Cessation of Hostilities

March 6, 2016 (EIRNS)—The Russian Defense Ministry reported yesterday that some opposition groups have called on Russia to protect them from the jihadis.

"They are asking us to provide their security and defend them from militants of the ISIS group and other terrorist organizations who declared a manhunt for opposition figures signing ceasefire agreements. From our part, we will help ensure the security of the leaders of the Syrian opposition units and heads of local administrations who signed agreements to end fighting and to start the reconciliation process,"

the ministry said. Russian representatives have held 23 meetings with opposition forces since opening the Russian Reconciliation Center at the Khmeimim (Hmeimim) air base last week.

The ministry also reported that the number of groups signing on to the truce keeps rising.

"Application forms to join the cessation of hostilities over the past 24 hours have been received from eight commanders of armed groups operating in the province of Daraa. Thus, the total number of moderate opposition units joining the reconciliation process has reached 30,"

the ministry’s newsletter said.

Ministry spokesman Gen. Sergey Kurylenko reported nine breaches of the cessation of hostilities monitored during the past 24 hours, including six breaches in Aleppo province and one in each of Damascus, Latakia and Daraa. Kurylenko explained that Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organization bombed four residential neighborhoods in Aleppo.

In Geneva, UN representative Staffan de Mistura is hedging as to when the talks might actually begin. "I see us beginning on (Thursday) March 10 when we will launch the process," de Mistura said in an interview with pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat. The Saudi- and Turkey-backed oppositionists are still not saying whether or not they’ll go to Geneva, and their handler, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir, is still insisting that Assad must leave at the beginning of the process, not the end.

Turkey, meanwhile, continues to shell Kurdish YPG units across the border. The latest report comes from Qamishli, in Hasakah province.

"There was firing by Turkish troops at members of the People’s Protection Units [YPG] near the city of Qamishli which caused serious injury in one person,"

said a YPG spokesman. The YPG have been fighting ISIS and have U.S. backing.

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