Moscow-Washington coordination crucial for truce to hold: Russia

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry have stressed the need for cooperation to cease hostilities in Syria, a few days after a truce took effect in the hope of ending a five-year-long war in the country. 

“The foreign ministers confirmed the crucial importance of coordination between the two countries, especially in the military sphere, to strengthen the ceasefire, which must be respected by the government forces and armed opposition groups not associated with terrorists,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its Facebook page, adding that the two diplomats discussed the issue in a phone conversation late on Tuesday.

“The focus (of the call) was on the implementation of the Russian-American initiative for a cessation of hostilities in Syria and the relevant United Nations Security Council decision,” it further said.

The Security Council on Friday unanimously adopted a resolution, drafted by Russia and US, to endorse the truce.

A ceasefire agreement in Syria brokered by Russia and the United States entered into force on February 27. The Syrian government accepted the terms of the truce on condition that military efforts against Daesh and the al-Nusra Front Takfiri militants, who are excluded from the ceasefire, continue.

Meanwhile, the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura rescheduled the next round of negotiation from March 7 to March 9 “for logistical and technical reasons and also for the ceasefire to better settle down.”

The UN hopes the truce would make it possible to send humanitarian aid to besieged areas in Syria and also provide an opportunity to revive the peace talks, which fell apart last month less than a week after they started as the foreign-backed opposition refused to continue the discussions.

In an interview with German broadcaster ARD on Tuesday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the terrorists have violated the ceasefire from the first day, yet the Syrian army has so far refrained from responding to the breaches to give a “chance for the agreement to survive.” He added, however, that “at the end everything has a limit. It depends on the other side.”

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. According to a February report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injured 1.9 million others, and displaced nearly half of the country’s pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.

Damascus accuses Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar of funding and arming Anti-Syria terrorist groups, including the Daesh Takfiri group.

By Press TV