Russia announces ceasefire in Syria’s Homs
Russia on Thursday announced that a ceasefire had been reached between armed opposition groups and the Assad regime in Syria's northern city of Homs -- but only one opposition group has reportedly signed onto the deal.
In a statement, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said the ceasefire had been hammered out in Homs following a July 31 meeting between armed opposition groups and regime officials.
Under the terms of the deal, Russian military police will be deployed in the area on Friday, according to Konashenkov.
But according to a written version of the agreement, a copy of which has been seen by Anadolu Agency, only the Al-Tawheed Brigade opposition group has signed onto the deal, of which Russia serves as sole guarantor.
Fatih Hassan, who represents Homs on the opposition's High Negotiation Committee (HNC), slammed the deal, which, he pointed out, "was signed by only one opposition group and is guaranteed solely by Russia".
He went on to assert that the Syrian opposition looked mainly to Turkey to guarantee ceasefires with the regime.
After a major ceasefire was reached on Dec. 30 of last year, peace talks were held in Kazakh capital Astana in January.
At a subsequent round of talks in May, three guarantor countries -- Russia, Turkey and Iran -- agreed to establish a network of "de-escalation" zones throughout war-torn Syria.
Syria has remained locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
While the UN says hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the six-year conflict, Assad regime officials say the number is closer to 10,000.