Russia’s military police at the checkpoint in the Syrian city of Al-Rastan, located in the de-escalation zone recently established in Syria's province of Homs, registered a growth in the number of civilians visiting relatives in the territory, Russian military police officer Vitaly Afanasyev said Thursday.
The agreement on the operation of the Homs de-escalation zone was reached by representatives of the Russian Defense Ministry and moderate Syrian opposition on July 31. There are 84 settlements with a population of more than 147,000 people living within the zone.
“We came here on August 3 and started to carry out our duties at the checkpoint. Everything here is going on peacefully and calmly. [Local] people treat us well. Every day we check approximately 100-150 people, around 20-30 cars are entering and leaving the territory … Since we have been stationed here, the number of people and amount of cars [which visit the territory] has increased,” the Russian officer told reporters.
The Syrian civilians visit their relatives and bring food, medicine, according to the official.
The agreement on establishing de-escalation zones was reached during the talks on Syrian reconciliation in Astana in May. The ceasefire regime in Syrian de-escalation zones does not cover the militants of the Jabhat Fatah al Sham, formerly known as Nusra Front, and the Islamic State (IS; both terrorist organizations are banned in Russia).