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US And Russia Agree New Ceasefire In Syria

US And Russia Agree New Ceasefire In Syria

The United States and Russia have announced that a planned cessation of hostilities in Syria will come into effect at midnight on 27 February, according to an official joint statement. 

Their statement said the truce did not include ISIS and the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.

The announcement follows multiple explosions on Sunday  in the Syrian cities of Damascus and Homs which claimed the lives of more than 1oo people.

The ceasefire call also comes as government forces made gains around Aleppo in the north

RT reports:

According to the statement, the truce will “be applied to [all] those parties to the Syrian conflict that have indicated their commitment” to accept its terms. It will exclude Islamic State, Al Nusra Front and “other terrorist organizations designated by the UN Security Council.”

The ceasefire plan also stipulates that other parties should indicate “their commitment to and acceptance of the terms for the cessation of hostilities” by no later than 12:00 (Damascus time) on February 26.

In terms of GMT, the ceasefire is due to take place on Thursday at 22:00, and all the parties should voice their agreement by 10:00.

President Vladimir Putin said he had a telephone call with Barack Obama and both the leaders welcomed the ceasefire plan.

Putin noted strikes on terror targets are to continue. Moscow and Washington are to work together to determine which groups will not be targeted.

“This is a real chance to stop the bloodshed in Syria,” Putin said in a televised statement. Russia is to exercise its influence on Damascus, he added, and expects to see the same effort from the US in regards of the opposition forces.

Russia and the United States have also pledged to “exchange pertinent information,” including data that helps delineate territories held by Islamic State and other terrorist groups from those “where groups that have indicated their commitment to and acceptance of the cessation of hostilities are active.”

The document also announces the establishment of an International Syria Support Group (ISSG) Ceasefire Task Force under the auspices of the UN. It will be tasked with identifying territories held by terrorists, ensuring communications between all parties in order to “rapidly de-escalate tensions,” and reporting any “persistent non-compliant behavior by any of the parties.”

Russia and the US are also to set up a communications hotline and possibly a working group to exchange information after the cessation of hostilities comes into effect.

Riad Hijab, a coordinator for the Supreme Negotiations Committee – a group of Syrian opposition forces backed by Turkey and Saudi Arabia – also confirmed that a provisional agreement has been reached. He added that the deal would be “according to international guarantees.”