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Syrian government agrees to US-Russia deal

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Syrian government agrees to US-Russia deal

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The latest



The Syrian government has reportedly given its assent to the US-Russia agreement signed in Geneva.

The agreement was brokered by Russian Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State, John Kerry.





Meanwhile, fighting is reportedly raging on in Aleppo, hours after the US and Russia agreed the breakthrough deal in Geneva to put Syria’s peace process back on track.

The army attacked rebel-held areas, pushing to maximise recent gains before a new nationwide ceasefire comes into effect on Monday.

Insurgents are reportedly planning a counter-offensive.





The details



The army and pro-government militias pushed from the city’s Ramousah area towards rebel pockets in the Amriyah district, according to reports from both sides.

Recent government gains in Ramousah have re-opened the main route into the government-held west and let forces backing President Bashar al-Assad encircle the city’s rebel-held east.



What does the Syrian opposition think of the new deal?



Syria’s mainstream political opposition said on Saturday it has not so far received a copy of the US-Russian peace deal.

It said there will only be a response after consulting members, some of whom have expressed scepticism about the success of the deal.

A spokeswoman from the Riyadh-based High Negotiations Committee earlier welcomed any deal that spared the lives of civilians.

However, doubt was cast on Moscow’s ability to pressurise Damascus to stop indiscriminate bombing.



Viewed with scepticism



Syria’s moderate Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels say they see little chance of the new US-Russia peace deal succeeding.

Fares al-Bayoush, head of the FSA’s Northern Division, says Russia and Damascus had not observed the last agreement.

The chances of the new deal succeeding are the same as for the last one, he added.

Captain Abdul Salam Abdul Razak, military spokesman for the rebel Nour al-Din al Zinki Brigades, says the deal will serve to give the Syrian Army a chance to gather forces and pour more Iranian-backed militias into the main battles raging in Aleppo.



The breakthrough deal



The US and Russia, who are backing opposing sides in the war, announced a deal in the early hours of Saturday.

It included a nationwide ceasefire effective from sundown on Monday, improved aid access and joint targeting of banned militant Islamist groups.

Washington has said indiscriminate bombing of civilians by the Syrian army would have to end under an enforceable deal.



The response from Turkey



Ankara has welcomed the US-Russia deal and is preparing to provide humanitarian aid to the northern city of Aleppo, in conjunction with the UN.

In a statement, the country’s foreign ministry said a cessation of fighting and the provision of aid around Aleppo are particularly key.

The statement said Turkey would support efforts to ensure the truce holds and to turn the deal into a longer-term political solution.

Turkey launched its first major military incursion into Syria two-and-a-half weeks ago.





What they are saying



“The fighting is flaring on all the fronts of southern Aleppo but the clashes in Amriyah are the heaviest,” said Captain Abdul Salam Abdul Razak, military spokesman for the rebel Nour al-Din al Zinki Brigades.


“The agreement is very welcome. All parties to the conflict, other than groups designated as terrorist organisations by the UN Security Council, must now ensure its effective implementation,” – the head of EU diplomacy Federica Mogherini hails Saturday’s deal and calls for preparations for a political transition.

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