A handout picture released by Syria’s official SANA news agency on September 5, 2016 shows the Syrian army soldiers inspecting damage at the site of a suspected car bombing in a government-held area in the city of Homs. ©AFP
Iran has welcomed a Russia-US mediated ceasefire agreement in Syria aimed at putting an end to more than five years of deadly conflict gripping the Arab country.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran always welcomes a ceasefire in Syria and the facilitation of the access of all the country's people to humanitarian aid,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bahram Qassemi, said on Sunday.
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 holidays of Eid al-Adha (the Feast of Sacrifice).
Syria’s official SANA news agency reported that the Damascus government had approved the agreement, which promises a nationwide truce, improved access for humanitarian aid and joint military operations against terrorist positions.
The ceasefire does not include the terrorist groups of Daesh and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch formerly known as al-Nusra Front, as well as newly-established terrorist splinter groups, Qassemi said.
“Taking into account the experience of the past few months, the ceasefire should be sustainable and have implementation guarantees and should not be exploited as an opportunity for the reinforcement and delivery of arms and militants to terrorist groups,” he added.
The Iranian official also called on the international community “to confront the Takfiri extremist terrorism seriously, resolutely, unconditionally and relentlessly.”
“As the Syrian government has reiterated … the maintenance and prevalence of the truce hinges on the establishment of a comprehensive monitoring mechanism, especially border controls to prevent the dispatch of fresh terrorists and shipment of weapons and other material resources for the terror groups,” he pointed out.
Qassemi further noted that the Islamic Republic has always emphasized that a halt in fighting and a political solution constitute the only way out of the Syria crisis.
Also on Sunday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari reaffirmed Tehran’s positive outlook on the Syrian truce, saying that any agreement on and solution to the Syria conflict should have humanitarian, security and political aspects.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has always emphasized that the Syria conflict has no military solution and should be settled through peaceful means, he added.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. Over the past few months, the Takfiri militants active in the Arab country have suffered major setbacks as the Syrian army has managed to liberate several areas.
According to United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, more than 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict in Syria. The UN has stopped its official casualty count in Syria, citing its inability to verify the figures it receives from various sources.

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