Syria ceasefire set for Saturday: US, Russia| MENAFN.COM

Tuesday, 25 January 2022 04:40 GMT

Syria ceasefire set for Saturday: US, Russia

(MENAFN- Gulf Times) The United States and Russia announced Monday that a landmark "cessation of hostilities" in war-torn Syria will take effect on February 27.

In a joint statement, the two countries said Saturday's partial truce would begin at midnight Damascus time (2200 GMT Friday) and would apply to parties to the conflict that have committed to the deal - but not to the Islamic State group or Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda affiliate.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who has been working with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to secure an agreement, welcomed the deal.

"If implemented and adhered to, this cessation will not only lead to a decline in violence, but also continue to expand the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian supplies to besieged areas and support a political transition to a government that is responsive to the desires of the Syrian people," Kerry said in a statement.

A halt in hostilities in Syria would come after five years of brutal civil war that has killed more than 260,000 people and seen half the population displaced, including over four million overseas.

Parties wishing to be included in the agreement have until noon Damascus time (1000 GMT) Friday to inform Russia or the United States of their intention to honor the ceasefire.

In return, the groups would be assured of protection from Russian and US-led coalition planes. The two powers are pursuing separate air wars in Syria, with Russia pounding rebel targets and the coalition focused on the IS group.

"The United States and the Russian Federation together call upon all Syrian parties, regional states and others in the international community to support the immediate cessation of violence and bloodshed in Syria and to contribute to the swift, effective and successful promotion of the UN-facilitated political transition process," said the joint statement, released by the US State Department.

The Pentagon stressed that any ceasefire would not alter the US-led coalition campaign against the IS group.

"ISIL has not been party to this," Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said, using an alternate acronym for the IS group.

"Our operations will continue as they have. The coalition will continue to strike against ISIL."

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