US and Russia announce ceasefire in war-torn Syria from 27 February

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The US and Russia have announced a framework for a ceasefire that will take effect in war-torn Syria, effective from 27 February.

The cessation of hostilities will not include Islamic State (Isis) or the Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front. It also leaves the option to exclude other groups deemed ‘terrorist organisations’ by the UN Security Council.

A joint statement from the US and Russia said that all other parties fighting on the ground must indicate to Russia or the US whether they will participate in the ceasefire by midday Damascus time on 26 February.

In addition, the opposition and the Syrian government must agree to allow “rapid, unhindered and sustained” humanitarian aid access and to cease all attacks – whether aerial bombings or otherwise – on other parties to the agreement.

Riad Naasan Agha, a spokesman for the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) which represents the main grouping of opposition factions in Syria, told AFP that the committee had discussed the ceasefire with the US special envoy to Syria Michael Ratney on 22 February.

According to FT, the HNC has now issued a statement indicating it provisionally accepted the terms of the cessation of hostilities. The HNC said that any ceasefire must include provisions for Russia, Iran and foreign militia forces that back the Assad regime to stop fighting.

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