Several Syrian opposition groups have requested protection from Moscow as the Takfiri terrorists launch manhunt for those participating in a recently announced ceasefire, the Russian military says. “They are asking us to provide their security and defend them from militants of the Daesh group and other terrorist organizations who declared a manhunt for opposition figures signing ceasefire agreements,” said the head of the Russian truce center in Syria, Lieutenant General Sergey Kuralenko, on Saturday. The ceasefire agreement, recently brokered by the United States and Russia, does not cover areas under the control of Daesh and the al-Qaeda–affiliated al-Nusra Front. “From our part, we will help ensure the security of the leaders of the Syrian opposition units and heads of local administrations who signed agreements to end fighting and to start the reconciliation process,” Kuralenko said. He added that since the center opened last week in Russia’s Hmeimim military base in Syria, 23 meetings had been held with opposition forces. "During even this short period of time, we have noticed drastic changes in the process of the talks," he said. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, around 30 opposition groups have so far joined the truce and six more are currently engaged in negotiations. Meanwhile, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura noted that the latest round of Syria peace talks would get a staggered start later in the week. "I see us beginning on (Thursday) March 10 when we will launch the process," he added.