The announcement comes less than 3 days after Russia Today reported a “US-Russia deal may be immanent” and 3 weeks after the United States announced it was “cooperating” and “working together with” Russian Defense for the first time in Syria.
What is interesting to note is that the agreement came between John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov, not Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin – who could not pulls this off themselves just a few days prior.
Alternative Medi4 has been chronicling Syria since we first began nearly a month ago. To view an archive of the recent history leading to today’s announcement, please catch yourself up here first: https://altmedi4.com/category/syria/
– The remained of the article was produced by Middle East Eye –
9/9/2016 – The United States and Russia on Friday agreed on a plan to impose a ceasefire in the Syrian civil war and lay the foundation of a peace process, US Secretary of State John Kerry said.
Standing by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov after a day of marathon talks in Geneva, Kerry said he believed the plan would lead to talks to “stop the conflict“.
“Today we are announcing an arrangement that we think has the capability of sticking, but it’s dependent on people’s choices,” Kerry said.
He said the agreement would prevent the air forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from flying combat missions anywhere that the opposition is present, calling this provision the “bedrock of the agreement” and labeling Assad’s air force the “main driver of civilian casualties” and migrant flows, CNN reported.
“That should put an end to the barrel bombs, an end to the indiscriminate bombing of civilian neighborhoods,” Kerry said.
He said the truce will come into force on Monday, the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, and that if it holds for seven days, the US would begin cooperation with Russian forces in targetting militants of the the Nusra Front and Islamic State (IS) group
“Going after Nusra is not a concession to anybody, it is profoundly in the interest of the United States to target al-Qaeda,” CNN quoted Kerry as saying, adding that the group was planning attacks both in and outside Syria, including attacks directed at the US.
The final hours of the talks dragged out as Kerry contacted US President Barack Obama’s office to get approval for the plan, but the top diplomat said both governments stand behind it.
“The United States is going the extra mile here because we believe that Russia and my colleague have the capability to press the Assad regime to stop this conflict and come to the table and make peace,” Kerry said.
The ceasefire should see Syrian and allied forces pull back from positions on key supply routes around Aleppo, allowing desperately needed humanitarian access to the communities besieged in the five-year-old conflict.
The UN’s Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura joined Kerry and Lavrov after their talks and welcomed the deal, which he said he will to take to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and to seek international support for its implementation.
“The United Nations hopes that the political will that led to this understanding is sustained,” Mistura said in a statement.The Syrian government has been informed of the terms of the arrangement and is prepared to follow them, according to Lavrov.
Kerry said the agreement would allow humanitarian access to besieged cities of Syria, including Aleppo, and create demilitarized areas around it.
He reiterated several times that the deal was dependent on the adherence of all parties, both government and opposition, and not built on trust, CNN reported “It is an opportunity and not more than that until it becomes a reality,” Kerry said.
Washington and Moscow are key backers of opposing sides in the Syrian conflict – but they are also joint leaders of the international effort to end the war, and declared a UN-backed ceasefire as far back as February.
But that truce collapsed and Russia has maintained strong air support for Assad’s forces, while Washington has encouraged the opposition rebels.
Kerry and Lavrov have continued to meet, most recently on Sunday and Monday on the sidelines of the G-20 in China, where Russian President Vladimir Putin also talked to Obama.
But fighting has continued, with Syrian government forces encircling and attempting to choke rebel-held areas of Aleppo, and rebels launching a wide-scale offensive in the western province of Hama.
The five-year conflict has left more than 400,000 people dead and forced millions to flee, becoming the key contributor to migrant flows into Europe.
The larger portion of this article originally appeared on Middle East Eye and was used with permission, in according with the terms and conditions of MEE. This article (BREAKING: US and Russia Agree To Syrian Ceasefire and Possible Peace Plan.Putin Says He Is Open To Coordinating Joint Air Strikes With US In The Future.) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article using a creative commons license with attribution to Brian Dunn and Alternative Medi4