U.S., Russia Facilitate Truce In Syria

| by Jimmy King
Obama, right, and Putin, left, shake hands in 2015Obama, right, and Putin, left, shake hands in 2015

A truce in Syria brokered by the U.S. and Russia is set to begin this weekend.  The ceasefire will begin at midnight on Feb. 27, and comes after the U.S., Russia and other world powers have been pushing for a peace agreement in the country’s five-year civil war.

The Islamic State and Nusra Front terror organizations were not included in the planned ceasefire, reports BBC.

There is still skepticism over whether the planned Syrian ceasefire will take effect.  The last target date for a ceasefire set by world leaders and diplomats on Feb. 12 has already passed.

The ceasefire plan was announced following a phone call between President Barack Obama and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. 

According to the plan, the U.S., Russia and the Syrian government will stop attacks on all groups except U.N.-designated terrorist organizations.

Syrian rebel groups will be required to state their commitment to the ceasefire by Feb. 26.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hailed the tentative ceasefire as a long-awaited reprieve from violence in Syria.

“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,” said Kerry.

The United Nations special envoy for Syria plans to create a task force to monitor the ceasefire agreement after it is scheduled to begin on Feb. 27, reports the Washington Post via AP.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon praised the ceasefire as a step toward a more lasting peace agreement, and a path toward ending Syria’s violent civil war.

“Above all, it is a long-awaited signal of hope to the Syrian people that after five years of conflict there may be an end to their suffering in sight,” said the Secretary General.

Since the Syrian civil war began in March 2011, more than 250,000 have been killed.  The embattled country’s civil war has also displaced more than 11 million throughout the Middle East, contributing to the Refugee Crisis in Europe. 

Sources: BBC, The Washington Post / Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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