Syria ceasefire: warring parts agree to the truce terms

Syria ceasefire: warring parts agree to the truce terms

A truce in Syria brokered by Russia and the United States is set to begin at sundown after a weekend of Assad regime’s air raids killed dozens of civilians while the warring parts said they were committed to it.

The agreement, made by US and Russia who back opposing sides in the five-year-old war, promises a nationwide truce from sundown on Monday, improved access for humanitarian aid and joint military targeting of hardline Islamist groups.

The Free Syrian Army group, a leading rebel alliance, said it would observe it from sundown on Monday as agreed, but with major reservations.

“The decision is taken,” the opposition source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “In the next few hours there will be a statement where we state that, but there will be a lot of harsh reservations and observations regarding the whole package. But as a final takeaway, we do agree.”

The alliance wrote to Washington on Sunday, saying that while it would “cooperate positively” with the ceasefire, it was concerned that it would benefit the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Another leading rebel group Ahrar al-Sham, which is seen as a “terrorist group” by Russia, rejected the deal, saying it would strengthen Assad’s government.

State news agency SANA reported on Saturday that Assad’s government had “approved the agreement” for a truce.

Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah, which has intervened militarily in the war on behalf of Assad, announced its support.

Key Assad and Hezbollah backer Iran also welcomed the deal, though Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi cautioned that its success would rely on creating “a comprehensive monitoring mechanism, in particular the control of borders in order to stop the dispatch of fresh terrorists” to Syria.

The deal does not include Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, formerly an al-Qaeda affiliate known as al-Nusra Front, and the Islamic State (ISIS).

The Syrian crisis began as a peaceful demonstration against the injustice in Syria. Assad regime used to fire power and violence against the civilians and led to armed resistance. 450.000 Syrians lost their lives in the past five years according to UN estimates, and more than 12 million have lost their homes.