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Ceasefire Between Syrian Government, Opposition Officially Takes Effect

© Sputnik / Iliya Pitalev / Go to the mediabankA soldier of the Syrian Arab Army is seen here in Aleppo
A soldier of the Syrian Arab Army is seen here in Aleppo - Sputnik International
The long-awaited ceasefire between the Syrian government and opposition forces officially took effect.

DAMASCUS (Sputnik) — The long-awaited ceasefire between the Syrian government and opposition forces officially took effect at midnight Damascus time on Saturday (22:00 GMT on Friday).

On February 22, Russia and the United States reached an agreement on the ceasefire in Syria. According to Moscow and Washington’s joint statement, the ceasefire excludes the terrorist groups Islamic State (ISIL) and the Nusra Front, which are outlawed in Russia, as well as other entities considered terrorist organizations by the UN Security Council.

Foreign Ministers vote during a UN Security Council meeting on Syria at the United Nations in New York on December 18, 2015 - Sputnik International
UN Security Council Endorses Syria Ceasefire
The Syrian government has confirmed its readiness to halt its military actions in accordance with the Russia-US agreement. Some opposition forces have been skeptical about the ceasefire, but in general have agreed to adhere to it.

On Tuesday, the Russian coordination center for reconciliation was established in Syria's Latakia province. According to Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, the conflicting Syrian sides that are ready to abide by the ceasefire have contacted the coordination center over 10 times during the first day it has been in operation, while the number of requests from five Syrian provinces, namely from Damascus, Hama, Latakia, Homs and Daraa, continues to rise.

Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with forces loyal to President Bashar Assad fighting against a number of opposition factions and extremist groups. The international community, including Russia, has been making efforts to settle the crisis.

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