Russia Announces 'De-Escalation Zone' North Of Syria's City Of Homs

Russia Announces 'De-Escalation Zone' North Of Syria's City Of Homs

Russia's Defense Ministry and Syria's opposition have agreed to create a new "de-escalation" zone north of the city of Homs, the ministry spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, said in a media briefing on Thursday (August 3).

A ceasefire in this area is set to take affect at 1200 (0900 GMT) on Thursday, he said. The new de-escalation zone will include 84 settlements populated by more than 147,000 people, Konashenkov said.

“As a result of meeting [in Cairo] an agreement has been reached on the functioning of the third de-escalation zone to the North of the city of Homs,”

Russia and Iran, which back President Bashar al-Assad's government, and Turkey, which supports some of the rebels, agreed in principle to create four "de-escalation zones" in Syria in a previous round of talks in May, but put off a planned June meeting where they were supposed to work out the details.

Since the May agreement was announced, the rebel-held stronghold of Idlib province in the northwest of Syria has been mostly calm. But fighting has continued on other frontlines in western Syria, including Eastern Ghouta of Damascus and the southwestern city of Deraa, where government forces and their allies are trying to crush remaining pockets of rebellion.