US, Russia set Feb.26 as planned date for cessation of hostilities in Syria

Washington/Moscow,Feb 23 (ANI): The United States and Russia have announced that a planned cessation of hostilities in Syria which will come into effect at midnight on February 26.

A joint statement issued on behalf of Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin after they had conversed over the phone said that the proposed cessation of hostilities would not include the so-called Islamic State and the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.

The civil war in Syria has so far claimed the lives of 250,000 people since March 2011.

The Syrian Opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) the major opposition bloc involved in negotiations has been quoted, as saying that it would accept the terms of the deal but it did not believe that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and its allies would do the same.

The joint statement made by Washington and Moscow as co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) said the group would work to “develop procedures” to ensure those abiding by the deal are not attacked by Russian armed forces or a US-led coalition both of which are carrying out air strikes in the country.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the deal, saying he hoped the move would be the first step towards an enduring ceasefire.

Meanwhile, Syria has announced that it will hold elections for its parliament on April 13. The last general elections were held in 2012. (ANI)

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