BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:00 P.M.) – Checkpoints were set up along the contact line of a third de-escalation zone, north of Homs, Thursday, as a ceasefire in the area took effect at 12.00 local time (09.00 GMT). Russian Military Police officers were seen checking the ID of lorry drivers traversing one of the newly created checkpoints.
In addition to two checkpoints for incoming vehicles, three observation points are soon be installed in the area to monitor the ceasefire and ensure access for humanitarian aid.
The establishment of the de-escalation zone comes on the back of the latest round of negotiations in Cairo between the Russian Defence Ministry and moderate Syrian opposition groups.
The new safe zone includes 84 towns and villages populated by over 147,000 people, according to the Russian Defence Ministry. The agreement does not apply to the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Jabhat al-Nusra.