Monitoring a fragile truce in Syria

Published May 5, 2016
Lieutenant General Sergey Kirilenko working behind his desk in Russia's ceasefire monitoring centre at the Hmeimim airbase in the northern Syrian province of Latakia. -AFP
Lieutenant General Sergey Kirilenko working behind his desk in Russia's ceasefire monitoring centre at the Hmeimim airbase in the northern Syrian province of Latakia. -AFP
A former rebel fighter returns arms to a representative of the Syrian government in the presence of a Russian military member in the village of Kaoukab near the city of Hama. -AFP
A former rebel fighter returns arms to a representative of the Syrian government in the presence of a Russian military member in the village of Kaoukab near the city of Hama. -AFP
A Russian solider looks on near Syrian fighters and villagers as a Russian military convoy arrives in Kaoukab a small village near the city of Hama. -AFP
A Russian solider looks on near Syrian fighters and villagers as a Russian military convoy arrives in Kaoukab a small village near the city of Hama. -AFP
Russian soldiers patrol as a Russian military convoy arrives in a small Syrian village near the city of Hama. -AFP
Russian soldiers patrol as a Russian military convoy arrives in a small Syrian village near the city of Hama. -AFP
Russian soldiers patrol as a Russian military convoy arrives in a small Syrian village near the city of Hama. -AFP
Russian soldiers patrol as a Russian military convoy arrives in a small Syrian village near the city of Hama. -AFP
Russian soldiers march during a rehearsal of the Victory Day Parade at the Russian Hmeimim military base in Latakia province, in the northwest of Syria. -AFP
Russian soldiers march during a rehearsal of the Victory Day Parade at the Russian Hmeimim military base in Latakia province, in the northwest of Syria. -AFP
Russian soldiers march during a rehearsal of the Victory Day Parade at the Russian Hmeimim military base in Latakia province. -AFP
Russian soldiers march during a rehearsal of the Victory Day Parade at the Russian Hmeimim military base in Latakia province. -AFP
A battery of the Syrian Army's Russian made the BM-21 "Grad" multiple rocket launcher is visible in Hama province. -AFP
A battery of the Syrian Army's Russian made the BM-21 "Grad" multiple rocket launcher is visible in Hama province. -AFP
Russian servicemen prepare an SU-34 fighter jet for a mission from the Russian Hmeimim military base in Latakia province. -AFP
Russian servicemen prepare an SU-34 fighter jet for a mission from the Russian Hmeimim military base in Latakia province. -AFP
A Russian Sukhoi Su-35 bomber lands at the Russian Hmeimim military base in Latakia province. -AFP
A Russian Sukhoi Su-35 bomber lands at the Russian Hmeimim military base in Latakia province. -AFP
Russian servicemen attach a bomb on an SU-34 fighter jet before a mission from the Russian Hmeimim military base in Latakia. -AFP
Russian servicemen attach a bomb on an SU-34 fighter jet before a mission from the Russian Hmeimim military base in Latakia. -AFP

Russian servicemen in sand-coloured fatigues sit by phones and computer screens at a base in northwestern Syria, monitoring a ceasefire often on the brink of collapse.

In coordination with a US centre in the Jordanian capital, soldiers at Russia's Hmeimim airbase record breaches of the truce -- brokered by Moscow and Washington -- from barracks converted into a makeshift call centre.

Since President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria in mid-March, Moscow has presented itself as a key peacemaker on the ground. Russia has been a key player in UN-mediated talks between the government and militant forces.

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