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Syria regime accepts US-Russia truce as opposition wavers

The landmark deal, reached after marathon talks in Geneva yesterday, could also lead to the first joint military operations by Moscow and Washington against jihadists.


Syria regime accepts US-Russia truce as opposition wavers

Beirut: Syria's government on Saturday approved a ceasefire deal brokered by its Russian ally and the US to end fighting in the war-ravaged country, but the main opposition group was more cautious.

The landmark deal, reached after marathon talks in Geneva yesterday, could also lead to the first joint military operations by Moscow and Washington against jihadists.

But even as diplomats touted the agreement as a path to peace, a barrage of air strikes on the northwestern city of Idlib killed 24 people and wounded dozens.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it was not immediately clear who carried out the raids, and said some bodies "were burned beyond recognition".

The truce deal negotiated by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is set to enter into force on Monday, the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Syrian state news agency SANA reported that the "government has approved the agreement, and a cessation of hostilities will begin in Aleppo for humanitarian reasons".

Citing "informed sources", it said "the entire agreement was reached with the knowledge of the Syrian government".

The opposition High Negotiations Committee said it had yet to receive the deal's "official text", however.

Leading HNC member Bassma Kodmani told AFP that her group "cautiously welcomed" the deal but was sceptical that Damascus would comply.

"We are waiting for Russia to persuade the regime that it is necessary to commit to this agreement" she told AFP.

Both Kerry and Lavrov said the complex plan is the best chance to end the five-year war that has killed 290,000 people and seen millions flee to neighbouring countries.

Under the deal, fighting would halt across the country at sundown on Monday and Syria's air force would stop attacking rebel-held areas.

A "demilitarised zone" would be established around the Castello Road leading into the battered second city of Aleppo so desperately needed aid can be delivered.

In turn, Washington must get opposition groups it backs to separate themselves from the Fateh al-Sham Front, which changed its name from Al-Nusra Front after renouncing its ties to Al-Qaeda.

If a cessation of hostilities holds for one week, the US and Russia -- which back opposing sides in the war -- could start joint operations against those jihadists.

From Zee News

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