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News Link • Syria

Syrian govt: ‘We have begun troop withdrawal’

 The Syrian foreign minister says the Assad regime has withdrawn troops from several provinces. The president has until the end of Tuesday to pull out all forces ahead of a planned ceasefire between conflicting sides.

­“We have already withdrawn some military forces from several Syrian provinces,” said Walid al-Moualem, following a meeting with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.

He also demanded a guarantee from UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan that opposition forces would stand down and that a deployment of international monitors would coincide with the ceasefire.

Lavrov for his part said that he was convinced of the Syrian leadership’s commitment to the UN-brokered peace plan.

President Assad has until midnight Syrian time (21:00 GMT) to implement a full troop withdrawal. This will pave the way for Thursday’s planned ceasefire.

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