Truce to take effect in Syria shortly

A truce agreement brokered by the United States and Russia is set to take effect in Syria at sundown on Monday.

Russia and the US, which support opposing sides in the Syrian conflict, reached an agreement on the ceasefire in Syria after some 13 hours of talks on Friday.

The deal also calls for increased humanitarian aid for the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has approved the agreement, according to the official SANA news agency of Syria.

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are about to shake hands at the end of a press conference closing meetings to discuss the Syrian crisis, in Geneva, September 9, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Iran, another Syrian ally besides Russia, has welcomed the ceasefire agreement in Syria but has cautioned against attempts by certain countries to re-arm terrorist groups during the lull in fighting. A number of such groups operate in Syria alongside the militants fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bahram Qassemi, has said the ceasefire does not include the terrorist groups of Daesh and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, as well as newly-established terrorist splinter groups.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement, whose fighters are in Syria to assist the Syrian government and prevent the spillover of the conflict into Lebanon, has also voiced support for the ceasefire plan, saying the “allies of Syria” abide by whatever decision the Damascus government makes.

During the past few years, Hezbollah resistance fighters have been helping the Syrian army in their battle against Takfiri terror groups, particularly those operating in the areas near the Lebanese border.

Syrian forces inspect ammunition left behind by militants in Ramussa, on the outskirts of the Syrian city of Aleppo, September 9, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Meanwhile, Syria’s main opposition group, the so-called High Negotiations Committee (HNC), has also “cautiously welcomed” the ceasefire agreement.

The deal has also been welcomed by the European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

Turkey, which sides with anti-Damascus militants, has welcomed the deal, too.

Terrorist rejection

The Ahrar al-Sham terrorist group on Monday rejected the ceasefire. The group, a close affiliate of the Fateh al-Sham Front — the de facto branch of al-Qaeda in Syria — would likely not have been a party to the truce anyway.

Some foreign-backed militant groups abandoned the last UN-brokered peace talks for Syria in Geneva in April after declaring a new war against the Syrian government.

The US has said that if the truce lasts for a week, Washington would start military cooperation with Russia to target the Takfiri terrorist groups of Daesh and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.

The US and Russia differ on the fate of Syrian President Assad. Washington insists that Assad must step down before any peace process can yield results, but Russia says the elected Syrian government is the legitimate power to run the country and is pivotal to the fight against terrorists there.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

In 2014, the UN said it would no more be updating its official death toll for Syria.

By Press TV