03:43 GMT02 December 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Militants shelled four towns in northern and western Syria within the past 24-hour period, the Russian Defence Ministry said Sunday. The ministry reiterated its call for illegal armed groups in the northwestern Idlib de-escalation zone to cease fire and take steps toward a peaceful settlement in areas under their control.

    "Over the past day, terrorists attacked Al-Suqaylabiyah in Hama province, Saraf and Nahshabbain in Latakia province and Binyamin in Aleppo province", the centre for Syrian reconciliation said in a daily bulletin.

    Since the end of April, the United Nations has recorded 29 attacks on civilian facilities in northwest Syria - including 25 on medical clinics - and 45 attacks on schools, with more than 300 civilians killed.

    During September 2018 talks in the Russian resort city of Sochi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan set up a demilitarized zone in Idlib along the line of contact between the armed opposition and government forces.

    The northwestern Idlib province is home to various groups, including the Turkey-backed National Front for Liberation and the Jabhat al-Nusra terror group. An estimated 30,000 militants, including foreign mercenary fighters, are currently operating in the region.

    The Syrian military conflict started in 2011, causing a massive refugee population which fled for Europe and safety. Russia, Turkey, and Iran are the ceasefire guarantors in the conflict.

    Russia carries out humanitarian operations across the country on a regular basis and helps Damascus to provide safe passage for the return of Syrian refugees. According to UN data, there are over 6.6 million Syrians registered as refugees seeking asylum in 45 countries as of 3 June 2019.

    *al-Nusra is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.

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    militants, shelling, ceasefire breach, Syria
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