01:09 GMT19 April 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Turkish troops have blocked three settlements in Syria's northern province of Raqqah to prevent the return of locals who left their homes due to combat, Rear Adm. Alexander Karpov, deputy head of the Russian Defense Ministry's Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria, said on Wednesday.

    "Per the decision of the Turkish military command, the settlements of Al Muallaq, Jahbel and Seida of the Ayn Issa district of the Raqqa province have been cordoned off to [prevent] return of local residents, who left their homes earlier due to combat between Turkish forces and Kurdish units," Karpov said.

    The officer stressed that the center was urging the Turkish command that oversees territories in northern Syria to provide an opportunity and safety for voluntary and unrestrained return of locals to their homes.

    Russia, Turkey, and Iran are the ceasefire guarantors in war-torn Syria. Russia regularly conducts humanitarian operations across the country and helps Damascus provide safe passage for the return of Syrian refugees.
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