A joint checkpoint manned by Russian and Syrian military personnel has opened in the de-escalation zone Eastern Goutha on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus.

Russian and Syrian military officers search motor vehicles for weapons and ammunition and check the identification documents of drivers and passengers. According to the estimates some 9,000 militants affiliated with different groups, mostly Jabhat al-Nusra, outlawed in Russia may be roaming the area.

According to earlier reports, Russian Defense Ministry officials and Syrian opposition representatives agreed on a de-escalation zone in Eastern Goutha. Two checkpoints and four monitoring posts have been deployed there.

Russia, Iran and Turkey reached agreement at talks in Astana on establishing four de-escalation zones in Syria. They incorporate Idlib province, some areas of neighboring provinces Aleppo, Latakia and Hama, an area north of Homs and also Eastern Goutha and southern provinces Daraa and Quneitra. Under the arrangement all military activity, including flights by aircraft has been outlawed in these territories since May 6. The agreement was concluded for six months. It may be automatically prolonged for the same period.

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