Syrian forces gather in a street in Ramousah on September 9, 2016, a day after they took control of the strategically important district on the outskirts of the Syrian city of Aleppo. © AFP
The Syrian government has “approved” a truce deal announced by Russia and the United States as part of a plan to find a political solution to the crisis in the Arab country, the state news agency says.
Early on Saturday, Moscow and Washington agreed on a nationwide “cessation of hostilities” which will go into effect at sundown on September 12. It also calls for increased humanitarian aid for the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo.
If a cessation of hostilities holds for one week, the US and Russia could start joint airstrikes against Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the Arab country.
“The Syrian government has approved the agreement, and a cessation of hostilities will begin in Aleppo for humanitarian reasons,” the Syrian official news agency, SANA, said on Saturday.
Citing “informed sources,” the agency said one of the agreement’s goals was “reaching the necessary political solutions for Syria.”
“The entire agreement was reached with the knowledge of the Syrian government,” SANA said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hold a press conference following their meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, where they discussed the crisis in Syria, September 9, 2016. © Reuters
The European Union has welcomed the truce deal, calling on the United Nations to “prepare proposals for political transition” to serve as “the starting point for resumption of the intra-Syrian talks.”
Moscow and Washington reached the deal in the Swiss city of Geneva after some 13 hours of marathon talks on the Syrian crisis in order to put peace process back on track.
Foreign-backed militant groups abandoned the last UN-brokered talks in Geneva in April after declaring a new war against the Syrian government.
Meanwhile, Syria’s main opposition group, the so-called High Negotiations Committee (HNC), said it had yet to receive “the official text” of the agreement.
“If we receive it, the HNC will study its details and the mechanisms of its implementation,” the group said.
However, leading HNC member Bassma Kodmani said the group “cautiously welcomed” the deal but was skeptical that Damascus would comply.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict.