Haidar speaks during an interview with Reuters at his office in Damascus, Syria.
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Russia helps mediate local deals with rebels in SyriaRussian mediators are helping the Syrian government to broker deals with rebels seeking to lay down their weapons or to relocate to insurgent strongholds, as Moscow plays a role underwriting local truces with besieged opposition fighters. National Reconciliation Minister Ali Haidar also said escalating military pressure was forcing more rebels to seek out deals that have resulted in some moving from areas of Damascus and Homs to insurgent strongholds in Idlib and Raqqa. Haidar described the process as purely Syrian even if there had at times been help from Russia since the start of its intervention in the war.The government has vowed to recapture Aleppo.In one local agreement, some 270 gunmen from the Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front left the last opposition-held district of Homs for the insurgent stronghold of Idlib in December.Haidar described it as a military tactic by insurgents who, feeling that they are under pressure, are being forced to move fighters to areas such as Idlib among others "for the coming battle".Haidar said more than 50 local deals had been concluded, though not all of them had been implemented in full.
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