World

DAMASCUS/MOSCOW (Web Desk) – Russia’s military have stopped all airstrikes on those areas and armed groups which joined the first major ceasefire in Syria’s five-year civil war.

The “cessation of hostilities” began at midnight (22:00 GMT Friday) with early reports saying front lines were silent, the General Staff has said at a briefing on Saturday.

“Russia has fully stopped carrying out airstrikes in “the green zone – those areas and armed units that have sent us requests for a ceasefire,” the chief of the main operations department of the Russian General Staff, Sergey Rudskoy, has told reporters.

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The Syrian army and 17 armed units have pledged to abide by the ceasefire, Russia’s Defense Ministry also said.

UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said fighting had “calmed down” but one breach was being investigated.

In the run-up to the deadline, US President Barack Obama warned the Syrian government and its ally Russia “the world will be watching”.

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The truce involves government and rebel forces, but not the so-called Islamic State group or the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.

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On February 23, the Syrian army declared that they have agreed to stop military action, in accordance with the US-Russia deal. Seventeen armed units addressed the command of the Hmeimim air base, and signed the application sheets, also pledging to respect the ceasefire.

More than 250,000 Syrians have been killed in Syria’s civil war and millions more have been forced from their homes.

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A few hours after the deadline passed, a car bomb killed two people outside the government-held town of Salamiyeh, near Hama, Syrian state media reported. It is not clear who carried out the attack.