US, Russia Agree on Cessation of Hostilities in Syria

The US and Russia on Monday announced an agreement to end fighting in Syria, though warring parties have until Friday to end hostilities. Under the agreement, all groups in Syria, including the Syrian government, must confirm to the US or Russia that they have ended hostilities with any other group, other than ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra, or any other group deemed to be a terrorist organization by the United Nation Security Council. Secretary of State John Kerry, in a Monday statement, said the agreement “will not only lead to a decline in violence, but also continue to expand the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian supplies to besieged areas.” The State Department will continue to work to receive commitments from key parties involved. Following the announcement, President Obama spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin, at the Kremlin’s request, where Obama pressed for “positive responses” by the Syrian regime and a faithful implementation of the agreement. Defense Department spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, in a Monday briefing, said the agreement would have no impact on the US-led coalition’s fight against ISIS because it was not “party to” the agreement.