US, Russia create fresh truce in northern Syria

Powers iron out renewed cessation of hostilities following renewed fighting, particularly around Aleppo

US, Russia create fresh truce in northern Syria


The U.S. and Russia have reached agreement to bring a halt to renewed fighting around Aleppo in northern Syria, the U.S. State Department said Wednesday.

“As part of our urgent efforts to de-escalate violence in Syria and reaffirm the cessation of hostilities nationwide, the United States and Russia concluded arrangements late yesterday to extend this effort to Aleppo province, including Aleppo city and its surrounding areas,” spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement.

The deal came into effect on Tuesday night and violence had decreased since, Toner said, although there have been reports of continued fighting in some areas.

Toner said the U.S.’s objective remained a cessation of hostilities “covering all of Syria”.

He added: “We are determined to reaffirm the cessation of hostilities across Syria and will continue expanding this effort.”

A truce was arranged by the U.S. and Russia in February in a bid to deescalate the five-year conflict and pave the way for peace talks in Geneva between the regime and opposition.

However, Bashar al-Assad’s forces violated the deal with airstrikes and ground attacks.

On Friday, the U.S. and Russia agreed to reinforce a short-term cease-fire in cities where attacks on civilians had risen.

Toner said all parties to the truce were expected to “abide fully by the renewed cessation in Aleppo and throughout the entire country” and insisted on the immediate halt to attacks on civilians.

He also called on Moscow to use its influence with the regime. “It is critical that Russia redouble its efforts to influence the regime to abide fully by the cessation,” Toner said.

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