Russia-U.S. ceasefire deal in southwest Syria comes into force

The ceasefire in southwestern Syria appears to be holding

Perhaps the most palpable result of the meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin on Friday was the U.S.-Russia brokered ceasefire for southwest Syria that aimed to de-escalate the situation in the southwestern portion of the country, near the Syrian border with Jordan.

The ceasefire was holding, hours after it took effect on Sunday, a monitor and two rebel officials said, as reported by Reuters.

The U.S., Russia, and Jordan reached a ceasefire ‘de-escalation’ agreement with the aim of providing a framework for a more comprehensive truce in Syria.

The ceasefire agreement was announced hours after a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

British based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that there were no air stikes or clashes in southwest Syria since the truce came into force at noon, 0900 GMT on Sunday.

Both rebel and Syrian government officials confirmed the truce and reported no serious fighting in the area.

“We welcome any step that would cease the fire and pave the way for peaceful solutions,” the government official told Reuters.

However, this remains another in a series of ceasefire agreements brokered between major powers in Syria, but this has not prevented fighting in the country, torn by a bloody civil war between various rebel and Islamist groups, ISIS and Syrian government forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad.

In May, Russia, Turkey and Iran signed a de-escalation zone memorandum in Astana, that established four separate de-escalation zones in Syria for at least six months. The de-escalation zones, mostly established in north and northwestern Syria, helped prevent large scale fighting between Syrian government forces and opposition groups, and created conditions for the return of displaced civilians in the affected areas.

The newest de-escalation agreement between U.S. and Russia in southwestern Syria was described as a “positive development” by the U.N. Deputy Special Envoy for Syria.

Source: Reuters

Photo: REUTERS/Alaa Al-Faqir