Cease-Fire in Syria Set for Saturday at Midnight

The Jerusalem Post reports:

The United States and Russia have agreed on a plan to pause the fighting in Syria’s civil war at the stroke of midnight on Saturday, February 27, marking the first serious effort to broker a cease-fire in the conflict since it first began five years ago.

The plan requires the two main warring parties – Syria’s embattled president, Bashar Assad, and a loose alliance of rebel groups fighting for his ouster – to agree to cease fire by noon on Friday, local time. The truce would then go into effect at midnight.

According to a joint US-Russian statement, the two sides must agree to fully implement a UN Security Council resolution passed in December, which lays out a political roadmap for an end to the war; To cease attacks with “any weapons, including rockets, mortars, and anti-tank guided missiles” against one another; To allow access for humanitarian aid to “people in need” nationwide; And to the use of “proportionate” force if the pause in fighting periodically falters.

Parties to the conflict also must agree to refrain from seeking to acquire any new territory at the expense of one another.

UN-designated terrorist organizations– such as al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria, the al Nusra Front, and Islamic State – are excluded from the “cessation of hostilities,” which will only protect “those parties to the Syrian conflict that have indicated their commitment to and acceptance of its terms.”

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