Russia and the United States on Friday announced a ceasefire plan for the “cessation of hostilities” between the Syrian government and opposition militia in the warn-torn country, BBC reported. The agreement, which will be implemented from Monday evening, will see the Bashar al-Assad regime end military operations in areas held by the opposition. The two countries will also set up a joint centre to fight militant outfits such as the Islamic State group and the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham seven days after the end of fighting and the delivery of aid to the region.
The announcement was made after talks between US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. Kerry said the Syrian opposition was ready to end its fight against the government, provided the latter showed itself to be “serious” about the agreement. He added that the end of the fighting also required humanitarian access to “all besieged and hard-to-reach areas”, including the town of Aleppo, CNN reported.
Lavrov said the Assad government was “ready to fulfil” the provisions of the ceasefire pact. However, he clarified that the Syrian Air Force will continue to conduct airstrikes in areas outside those “singled out for Russian-American military cooperation”. Both Kerry and Lavrov emphasised that the ceasefire can lead to a political transition, with the secretary of state saying that the agreement is “more prescriptive and far-reaching than any proposal to date”.
The civil war in the West Asian country began in 2011 following massive protests against the Assad regime. The Syrian government has been accused of committing atrocities against civilians such as dropping barrel bombs in populated areas as well as using chemical weapons. While Washington has supported rebel groups, Moscow is seen as a key Assad ally.