United States and Russia reach ceasefire agreement on Syria
John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov reach deal in Geneva. A nationwide truce will begin at sunset on Monday. This will allow the distribution of humanitarian aid in the most affected areas. After seven days, a Russian-American joint centre will come into operation to fight against terrorist groups. Air strikes are in specific areas of the country.
Geneva (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The United States and Russia have reached an agreement in Geneva with a "cessation of hostilities" in Syria starting at sunset next Monday (12 September).
After weeks of fruitless talks, the two parties agreed to allow aid into areas where the humanitarian crisis is greatest and to undertake joint missions in rebel-held areas.
The announcement follows talks between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Seven days after the start of the cessation of hostilities, Russia and the US will establish a "joint implementation centre" to fight Jihadi groups like the Islamic State.
Mr Lavrov said the joint implementation centre would allow Russian and US forces to "separate the terrorists from the moderate opposition".
He said the coordinated air forces would carry out co-ordinated strikes against the Islamic State and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.
"We have agreed on the areas where such co-ordinated strikes would be taking place, and in those areas, on neutral agreement shared by the Syrian government as well, only the Russian and US air force will be functional," he said.
Mr Lavrov added that "the Syrian air force will be functional in other areas, outside those that we have singled out for Russian-American military co-operation".
The opposition has indicated it was prepared to comply with the plan, provided the Syrian government "shows it is serious".
John Kerry said that the agreement will lead to a significant decrease of violence in Syria.
The United Nations envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, welcomed the agreement and said the UN would exert all efforts to deliver humanitarian aid.
The Syrian conflict broke out in March 2011 as a civil uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. So far it has caused at least 289,000 dead and generated an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, with millions of refugees.
In recent weeks, Aleppo has become the epicentre of the conflict with expectations for a pitched battle for the conquest of the city. Currently, the western part of the city is in government hands and the eastern sector is controlled by rebel groups.