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The Latest: UN sends supplies to Syria's Deir el-Zour

Posted 10:16 a.m. Friday
Updated 10:18 a.m. Friday

— The Latest on Syria developments (all times local):

5:00 p.m.

The United Nations says it has sent urgently needed supplies to the Syrian city of Deir el-Zour for the first time by road after government and allied troops broke a three-year siege by Islamic State militants on the city.

A U.N. official says Friday the life-saving supplies, including hygiene kits and solar lamps, were delivered by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent a day earlier but that wheat packages had not yet arrived to the city. More than 93,000 residents were besieged by the Islamic State group who had controlled most of the city until last week. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss pending delivery. The Red Crescent said the convoy was of 12 trucks.

The besieged areas of the eastern city were previously reachable only by costly U.N. airdrops. Following the siege breach on Sept. 5, roads are now accessible and government trucks have already delivered some aid. But fighting continued in the city center, where the militants remain in control of a number of neighborhoods on the western bank of the Euphrates River.

In a statement, the U.N. said it wishes to visit the city "as soon as the situation on the ground permits" access.

— By SARAH EL DEEB

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4:20 p.m.

Russia's representative at Syrian peace talks in the capital of Kazakhstan has said that the details of how to enforce a "de-escalation" zone in Syria's northern province of Idlib have yet to be agreed.

Alexander Lavrentiev said Friday that the "mechanism and concrete locations (of a deployed force in Idlib) will be discussed," Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported. Lavrentiev said that the force could consist of 500 soldiers from Russia, Turkey and Iran, the guarantors of the peace talks in Astana.

The establishment of Idlib's de-escalation zone, one of four agreed at the negotiations, was announced Friday by Turkey's Foreign Ministry.

Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister said Friday that Russia, Turkey and Iran agreed to set up a co-ordination center to monitor the implementation of de-escalation zones.

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2:35 p.m.

Russia, Turkey and Iran have agreed to set up a co-ordination center to monitor the implementation of "de-escalation" zones in Syria.

Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov said Friday that the three countries had agreed to establish the new body during the latest round of Syrian peace talks in the Kazakh capital of Astana, according to Russia's RIA Novosti news agency. The new center will help to establish the make-up of the forces to police the zones.

Abdrakhmanov also said that a seventh round of talks in Astana was planned for the end of October.

Russia, Iran and Turkey have co-sponsored talks with opposition fighters and the Syrian government in Astana to negotiate local cease-fires and de-escalation zones, which have contributed to a reduction of fighting in the country.

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2:05 p.m.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry says Turkey, Russia and Iran have announced the establishment of a "de-escalation" zone in Syria's northern province of Idlib.

A ministry statement said Friday the decision was reached by the three countries' delegations during a meeting in Kazakhstan's capital Astana.

The ministry said observers from the three nations would be deployed at "control and observation" points within the boundaries of the zone.

The statement says: "The observer forces' main task will be to prevent conflicts between the regime and the opposition and to monitor possible violations of the cease fire."

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11:55 a.m.

An observer group says intense clashes are ongoing in the Syrian central province of Hama between pro-government forces and members of the Islamic State group.

Syrian troops have been on the offensive in central Syria against IS for weeks under the cover of Russian airstrikes.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the fighting is concentrated in the Okeirbat area that government forces regained control of on Thursday.

The Observatory said Friday that more than two weeks of fighting left hundreds dead on both sides.

The government-controlled Syrian Central Military Media reported the clashes saying IS positions are being targeted with artillery and rockets.

IS said in a statement posted online that it repelled a government attack near the village of Sheikh Hilal, claiming to have killed 11 soldiers.

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