USA Russia Agree on Syria Ceasefire

The United States and Russia agreed a deal to impose a ceasefire in Syria. The truce would come into force on 12 September, the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

The two powers back opposite sides of the conflict, with Russia supporting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and the US behind a coalition of rebel groups it regards as moderate.

Breakthrough came at the end of talks between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva (Switzerland), as they push for an end of the five-year civil war that has killed 290,000 and displaced half the country’s population.

The Syrian war began as a pro-democracy revolt in 2011 but morphed into a multi-front conflict after the regime unleashed a crackdown.

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.

USA wants concrete steps from Russia to force Assad to stop bombing Syrian citizens, respect a ceasefire and lift the siege of the northern city of Aleppo.