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>> Just days after a Russian broke a deal to create de-escalation zones in Syria came into force, the country's foreign minister has declared his government will abide by its terms as long as the rebels do as well. Russia secured the agreement during talks in Kazakhstan last week, backed by Turkey and Iran with forces from those countries monitoring the security zones.
In a news conference in Damascus, Syria's foreign minister said rebels involved in the process must help clear areas they control of jihadist factions.>> According to the memorandum we will commit, but if a violation takes place by any group, the response would be crucial. And we hope that this memorandum will reach the separation between opposition groups that signed the ceasefire agreement on the 30th of December last year and between Nusra Front and its allied organizations in Daesh.
spite coming into effect at midnight on Friday, there have been some reports of fighting in the de-escalation zones. Separate peace talks are being held in Geneva, but the Syrian foreign minister says they are not progressing. He added that local reconciliation deals were an alternative to the talks.
Such deals have been criticized by the opposition as being imposed on civilians using siege tactics. The UN has said that evacuating people as part of such agreements is forced displacement.