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Russia Grounds Warplanes in Syria As Ceasefire Takes Effect
   2016-02-28 07:15:22    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Guan Chao

A Russian pilot in a cockpit of Russia's Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft at the Hmeymim airbase in Syria on October 5, 2015. [Photo: CFP]

Russia says it has grounded all of its warplanes in Syria as part of a ceasefire deal that took effect on Saturday.

Lieutenant General Sergei Rudskoi with the Russian Defense Ministry made the announcement on Saturday in Moscow.

"From midnight Saturday, according to the agreements reached between Russia and the US, the aviation unit of the Russian Aerospace Forces has completely stopped attacks in the 'green zone', which refers to those areas and armed units that have sent us requests to cease fire."

The ceasefire deal was brokered by the US and Russia. It excludes the Islamic State group and the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.

Russia says it will continue to fight these extremist groups while using drones to monitor the situation in Syria.

On Saturday, the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said the international community is observing the latest developments in Syria with caution.

"The first night and first day certainly gave the impression that everyone is serious in their commitment to keep on going with this cessation of hostilities. People work day and night to monitor every reported incident when there is one, to see which ones are real and especially how they can be controlled."

After the ceasefire took effect, the Islamic State group carried out a suicide car bombing in central Syria that killed at least two people.

Syrian state media said several shells hit Damascus on Saturday, without identifying who had fired.

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