BEIRUT — Russia’s Defense Ministry announced a cease-fire for a third safe zone in war-torn Syria on Thursday, paving the way for the delivery of sorely needed humanitarian relief to rebel-held areas north of the city of Homs.

Military spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Russia would deploy military police in the area on Friday and set up two checkpoints and three observation points around its borders.

“It’s important that people can live again,” said Mustapha Khaled, an opposition activist working for a media center for the town of Talbisah, in north Homs province.

It is the third of four planned cease-fires reached in recent months under an agreement brokered by Russia, Iran, and Turkey in May that aims to “de-escalate” the violent and prolonged Syrian civil war.

Russia and Iran are providing military support to President Bashar Assad, while Turkey sponsors some of the opposition forces arrayed against him.

Pro-government forces have besieged the enclave north of Homs for years, but have been unable to capture it from the opposition even as it recovered territory elsewhere.

Shelling and airstrikes against the enclave have eased since the May agreement was signed, said Khaled. Residents will now be expecting further relief.

The agreement, according to notes leaked by the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, follows the model of another cease-fire zone for the suburbs of Damascus.

Both truces were negotiated in Cairo between Russia and what the Ministry of Defense described as the “moderate opposition.”

. The agreement also prescribes the release of political prisoners, long a demand of the opposition.

On Thursday, a 113-bus convoy from Lebanon carrying thousands of refugees and al-Qaida-linked militants arrived at a transfer point in the western Syrian province of Hama, en route to the rebel-held Idlib province in northwest Syria. Idlib is dominated by a Syrian affiliate of al-Qaida.

By the afternoon, some of the buses moved toward the north as militants in Idlib released three of the five prisoners captured in Syria last year, from the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which is fighting in support of Assad’s government in Syria.

The remaining two Hezbollah fighters were to be freed later Thursday, according to Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV.

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