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    A portrait of Syrian President Bashar Assad is mounted on a wall in Damascus, Syria, Thursday, March 3, 2016.

    Russia, US Share Understanding on Strengthening Syria Ceasefire - Moscow

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    Russia and the United States have a mutual understanding on means to strengthen the ceasefire regime in Syria, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Friday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On February 22, Russia and the United States reached an agreement on a ceasefire in Syria, which took effect on February 27.

    "As a representative of the Foreign Ministry I can say that there is mutual understanding with the Americans regarding the strengthening of the ceasefire. The questions are whether this is enough and whether it can be documented, but this is a question for the military," Ryabkov told RIA Novosti.

    Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with forces loyal to President Bashar Assad's government fighting numerous opposition factions and extremist groups.

    Moscow has been conducting a military operation against terrorists in Syria since September 30 at its president's request. On March 14, President Vladimir Putin ordered the Defense Ministry to start withdrawing the Russian air group from Syria, saying that the military has largely achieved its objectives.

    Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Friday that a complete withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria would not take place in the near future, as the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra groups remain legitimate targets.

    "We have explained repeatedly that the tasks set before the group are aimed at countering terrorism and the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra groups that are banned in Russia. This fact raises no questions with the Americans, so there can be no talk of a full withdrawal," Ryabkov told RIA Novosti.


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