In a significant development, the US and Russia announced that they have agreed on terms and conditions in the war-torn Syria and declared that the ceasefire will come into effect from February 27.
In a joint statement, the US and Russia have said that a partial truce would begin at midnight Damascus time on February 27 and would apply to parties to the conflict that have committed to the deal. “If implemented and adhered to, this cessation will not only lead to a decline in violence, but also continue to expand the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian supplies to besieged areas and support a political transition to a government that is responsive to the desires of the Syrian people,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement.
According to the White House, US President Barack Obama and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin discussed the deal in a phone call. “This is a moment of opportunity and we are hopeful that all the parties will capitalize on it,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the ceasefire a “long-awaited signal of hope”. Mr Ban has insisted that all sides should abide by it.
“Once the cessation of hostilities takes hold, the United Nations will work to secure access to as many places as possible in order to deliver humanitarian aid,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
The parties that wish to be included in the agreement have until noon of February 26 (Damascus time) to inform Russia or the US of their intention to honour it. The members agreeing to abide by the agreement will get protection from the forces led by the US and Russia in return. The deal signals a thaw in strained relations between the US and Russia.
(Sridhar Ramaswamy contributed inputs for the article)
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