Major World powers have agreed to seek a nationwide “cessation of hostilities” in Syria to begin in a week’s time, after talks in Germany. The halt, however, will not apply to the battle against jihadist groups Islamic State (IS) and al-Nusra Front.
Ministers from the International Syria Support Group also agreed to accelerate and expand aid deliveries. The announcement comes as the Syrian army, backed by Russian air strikes, advances in Aleppo province. The move threatens to encircle tens of thousands of civilians in rebel-held parts of the major city of Aleppo.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has said that an international meeting on the Syria crisis has agreed to implement a cessation of hostilities in Syria and to immediately expand delivery of humanitarian aid. Mr Kerry, speaking after marathon talks that included Russia and more than a dozen other countries, said that all nations involved in the talks agreed that Syrian peace negotiations should resume in Geneva as soon as possible.
John Kerry admitted the ceasefire plan was “ambitious” and said the real test would be whether the various Syrian warring factions honoured the commitments.
The Secretary of State flanked by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and UN envoy Staffan de Mistura, acknowledged that the Munich meeting produced commitments on paper only and real test will be whether all parties to the Syrian conflict honour the commitments.