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Some 30 towns, villages in Syria’s Hama join national reconciliation

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this photo taken on October 11, 2015, Syrian army soldiers walk in Achan, Hama Province, Syria. (Photo by AP)

Some 30 towns and villages in the Syrian province of Hama have joined the national reconciliation process through the mediation of a Russian center, the head of the center says.

German Rudenko told reporters on Thursday that representatives of local communities had signed a deal banning use of weapons against government forces and returning state power to the region.     

"The work is very meticulous and delicate; everything here is based on religious and national matters, but overall about 30 communities have signed an application form to join the peace process and negotiations."

On Monday, up to 1,000 militants promised to drop their weapons and join the peace process in a gathering held in the capital of Dara'a Governorate.

National reconciliation was previously achieved in Rif Dimashq Governorate and some areas in Homs Governorate.

The program is a peace settlement proposed by Syrian government to solve the crisis in the country.

Under the program, militants can get back to their normal lives if they promise to lay down weapons and accept government investigation.  

Syrian government forces drive motorbikes in the strategic town of Salma, in the coastal Latakia province, January 15, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Syria is currently observing a ceasefire brokered by Russia and the United States, which entered into force on Saturday.

UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said the ceasefire is largely holding in the country and has "greatly reduced" violence, despite sporadic clashes in some cities.

He spoke on Thursday to reporters in Geneva before holding the third meeting of a task force which is monitoring the truce.

De Mistura said he has set a "penciled date" of next Wednesday for Syrian peace talks to resume in the Swiss city.

The World Health Organization (WHO) used the lull on Wednesday to deliver urgently-needed medicines to Mouadamiya on the edge of Damascus which is held by militants. 

The warring sides, however, traded accusations of ceasefire breaches by each other.

The White House claimed tank and artillery attacks by the Syrian government which has vowed to continue targeting Daesh and Nusra Front positions. 

Russia said shelling of the Syrian territory by Turkey and terrorist groups was jeopardizing the truce.

Head of the Russian Ceasefire Coordination Center in Syria Sergei Kuralenko said his office continues to receive information about the artillery shelling which continues from the Turkish territory.   

"We regard these Turkish actions as open provocations and think they are aimed at a breakdown of the ceasefire and reconciliation process in the Syrian Arab Republic." 

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Wednesday the ceasefire has been violated 31 times over the past three days.

Turkey is pommeling the positions of Syrian Kurds whom it accuses of links to PKK militants fighting for an independent state inside the country.

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