US and Russia seal Syria cease-fire deal

The US and Russia reached an agreement on ceasefire in Syria on Friday. The agreement can possibly bring the two countries together in the fight against Islamic State.

Announcing the terms of the agreement, the US Secretary of State, John Kerry with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Geneva said,   “Today we are announcing an arrangement that we think has the capability of sticking but it’s dependent on people’s choices.”

The deal would include steps that would stop the Syrian regime from flying combat missions where opposition forces are operating, and September 12 was announced as the ‘ceasefire’ day for both the opposition and regime to recommit to the cease-fire.

Kerry told reporters in Geneva that the deal, if implemented could be the “turning point” for the conflict. The Pentagon has also welcomed the agreement. “If implemented, the arrangement negotiated by Secretary Kerry could achieve a sustained cessation of hostilities, help ease the suffering of the Syrian people and address the immediate humanitarian catastrophe in Aleppo,” the Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said.

“This preliminary understanding now requires the Russians and the regime to carry out a number of very specific steps, including, importantly, a sustained cessation of hostilities for at least seven days,” he said in a statement. “Those commitments must be fully met before any potential military cooperation can occur. We will be watching closely the implementation of this understanding in the days ahead,” Cook said.

Kerry asured the people that the strongest point of the entire agreement was, Russia’s ensuring that Assad’s air force will no longer fly combat missions over opposition and civilian areas. “This step is absolutely essential. By all accounts, Assad
air attacks have been the main driver of civilian casualties and migration flows out of Syria,” he said. “That should put an end to the barrel bombs, an end to the indiscriminate bombing of civilian neighborhoods,” he added.

“It is the primary responsibility of the leading powers, first of all Russia and the United States to do everything to create the necessary conditions to settle this very difficult conflict despite all the problems that have arisen,” Lavrov said.

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