SyriaWorld powers agree on “full cessation of hostilities” in Syria within 1 week

Published 12 February 2016

Major world powers have agreed to a deal which would end hostilities in Syria and allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, meeting in Munich, early Friday announced the agreement, calling for a broader ceasefire. The agreement raises hopes that a diplomatic breakthrough may be possible.

Major world powers have agreed to a deal which would end hostilities in Syria and allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, meeting in Munich, early Friday announced the agreement, calling for a broader ceasefire. The agreement raises hopes that a diplomatic breakthrough may be possible.

Kerry described the agreement as “ambitious,” and said that the United States and Russia, together with more than a dozen other world powers, have agreed to a “cessation of hostilities” within a week and the acceleration and expansion of humanitarian aid to areas besieged by both regime and rebel forces.

The Independent reports that the test is now in the implementation of the agreement on the ground.

Kerry said all the parties to the talks had agreed political talks between the regime and opposition must restart as soon as possible.

The peace broke down within hours of starting early last week. The opposition demanded an end of Russian bombing, humanitarian access, and release of prisoners.

The agreement between Russia and the United States notwithstanding, analysts question the feasibility of implementing the agreement.

Lavrov, for example, rather than setting a date for implementing the agreement, called for establishing “modalities” to cease hostilities and allow humanitarian aid within a week.

Lavrov also called for the participation of a broad spectrum of Syrian opposition in the talks. Russia is on record criticizing the exclusion of certain opposition groups and the Kurds from the talks.

Russia and Syria, though, called for the exclusion of some Saudi Arabian and Turkish backed rebel groups, which they describe as “terrorists.”

The powers meeting in Munich have not resoled the issue of what groups, in addition to ISIS and the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front, remains unresolved.

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