Russian military police have been deployed to an area east of Syria’s capital Damascus as part of their contribution to so-called “de-escalation” zones in the country.
According to Russian military officials, the military police there are to function as peacekeepers, enforcing a cease-fire agreement hashed out between Russia, Iran, the Assad regime, Turkey, and opposition groups.
The cease-fire area, in the Ghouta district east of Damascus, is one of four de-escalation zones that were proposed as part of talks between regional powers in Kazakhstan in May. Wary of participating in any Iranian-sponsored initiatives, the United States steered clear of the Russian-led efforts on the de-escalation zones.
The Russians deployed two checkpoints and four observations posts as part of their peacekeeping presence last weekend, and two more checkpoints and 10 observations posts elsewhere in southwest Syria, Reuters reports.