This content is not available in your region

US and Russia broker ceasefire for Syria

Access to the comments Comments
By Catherine Hardy  with Reuters
US and Russia broker ceasefire for Syria

<p><p></p> <p>The United States and Russia say a ceasefire will come into force in Syria this coming weekend.</p> <p>Hostilities will end just after midnight on Saturday the 27th of February.</p> <p>According to the statement, the truce does not include <span class="caps">ISIL</span> and the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra front.</p> </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Putin: US-Russia Have Agreed to Syria Ceasefire – <span class="caps">NBC</span> News <a href="https://t.co/LtpCzYrsKB">https://t.co/LtpCzYrsKB</a> <a href="https://t.co/XMPSl56C4t">pic.twitter.com/XMPSl56C4t</a></p>— Vladimir Putin News (@Putinizer) <a href="https://twitter.com/Putinizer/status/701874538070544384">February 22, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p> <p><strong>Russian President Vladimir Putin</strong> says the impetus for the talks came from Russia.</p> <p>“However,” he added, “the interest was mutual. During the course of the conversation, as co-organisers of the International Syria Support Group, we formalised the joint statements of Russia and the <span class="caps">USA</span> on the ceasefire in the country.</p> </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">White House Press Briefing with <a href="https://twitter.com/PressSec"><code>PressSec</a> Josh Earnest – LIVE on C-SPAN <a href="https://t.co/M9zTxB86jn">https://t.co/M9zTxB86jn</a> <a href="https://t.co/6PEUMxN3KC">pic.twitter.com/6PEUMxN3KC</a></p>&mdash; CSPAN (</code>cspan) <a href="https://twitter.com/cspan/status/700018842253316096">February 17, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p> <p><strong>White House spokesman Josh Earnest</strong> says the process far from complete:</p> <p>“We know there are a lot of obstacles and there are sure to be some setbacks. After all, for years we have been trying to reach a diplomatic resolution to the many problems that plague that nation, which has broken apart. But this is a moment of opportunity.”</p> </p> <h3><strong>Criticism of the truce</strong></h3> <p> <p>Some are already describing the ceasefire plan as “flawed”.</p> <p>The concern is the government and its allies will continue to target rebel forces on the ground under the pretext of fighting the exempt groups.</p> </p> <h3><strong>The second ceasefire</strong></h3> <p> <p>After the collapse of peace talks in Geneva early in February world powers concerned had already agreed that a truce would come into effect within a week of the 12th of February.</p> <p>However, the deadline passed with no announcement.</p> </p> <h3><strong>The human cost in numbers</strong></h3> <p> <ul> <li>250,000 dead</li> <li>7 million displaced internally by fighting</li> <li>4 million have fled the country</li> </ul> <p>An exact figure for the number of people killed since the conflict began in March 2011 is difficult to come by.</p> <p>On Sunday 140 died in bombings in Homs and Damascus as the violence continued.</p> </p> <h3><strong>Reaction to the news</strong></h3> <p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">‘Diplomatic progress in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Syria?src=hash">#Syria</a> welcome news, must be matched by action’ Exec Dir Tony Lake <a href="https://t.co/TGwojumNwF">https://t.co/TGwojumNwF</a> <a href="https://t.co/dtCGcO599h">pic.twitter.com/dtCGcO599h</a></p>— <span class="caps">UNICEF</span> (@UNICEF) <a href="https://twitter.com/UNICEF/status/701870937487122434">February 22, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">It’s time for safe zones in Syria <a href="https://t.co/JSX60eGVsJ">https://t.co/JSX60eGVsJ</a> <a href="https://t.co/hRdmPFogNF">pic.twitter.com/hRdmPFogNF</a></p>— <span class="caps">POLITICO</span> Europe (@POLITICOEurope) <a href="https://twitter.com/POLITICOEurope/status/701875139449847809">February 22, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Ban Ki-moon welcomes agreement by International Syria Support Group on nationwide cessation of hostilities in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Syria?src=hash">#Syria</a> <a href="https://t.co/M1Di74H2j2">https://t.co/M1Di74H2j2</a></p>— UN Spokesperson (@UN_Spokesperson) <a href="https://twitter.com/UN_Spokesperson/status/701828214822412289">February 22, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> </p> <h3><strong>What they are saying</strong></h3> <p> <p><em>“I am convinced the joint actions agreed with the American side are able to radically transform the crisis situation in Syria.”</em> – <strong>Russian President Vladimir Putin</strong>.</p> </p> <p><em>“Russia and the regime will target the areas of the revolutionaries on the pretext of the Nusra Front’s presence, and you know how mixed those areas are. If this happens, the truce will collapse.”</em> – <strong>Bashar al-Zoubi, head of the opposition Yarmouk Army</strong> <p></p>