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Russia Says It Has Agreed Safe Zone Mechanism With Syrian Rebels

Russia's Defense Ministry said on July 22 that its officials had signed a deal with moderate Syrian rebels at peace talks in Cairo on how a safe zone near Damascus will function.

The agreements on the functioning of the East Ghouta de-escalation zone in Syria were signed after talks between the Russian military and Syrian opposition in Cairo, the Russian Defense Ministry said on July 22.

The rebel-stronghold of Eastern Ghouta is in one of four proposed "de-escalation zones" designated in an agreement brokered in Astana by Iran, Russia, and Turkey.

The deal has still not been fully implemented over disagreements on the monitoring mechanism for the safe zones.

Eastern Ghouta is a major rebel stronghold near the capital and is frequently targeted by government military operations.

According to the United Nations, some 400,000 people have been killed in the Syrian war since 2011.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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