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Cease-Fire Brokered By U.S., Russia Appears To Hold After First Day In Southwest Syria

RFE/RL July 10, 2017

A cease-fire brokered by the United States and Russia in southwest Syria has held through the first day, a monitor group and rebel fighters say.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on July 9 said that "calm prevailed" despite some minor violations since the start of the truce at noon local time.

The "de-escalation" agreement between U.S., Russian, and Jordanian officials attempts to separate the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and U.S.-backed antigovernment rebel forces who have been locked in a six-year civil war.

The cease-fire covers the provinces of Daraa, Sweida, and Quneitra in the southwest along the border with Jordan.

Observatory Director Rami Abdulrahman said combatants briefly exchanged fire in Deraa Province and in Quneitra near midnight of July 9 but added that the fighting "did not threaten the cease-fire."

Major Issam al Rayes, spokesman of the Southern Front coalition of U.S.-backed rebel groups, said "a cautious calm" continued into the night.

U.S. President Donald Trump had earlier on July 9 said the truce appeared to be holding. "Syrian ceasefire seems to be holding...Good!"

A Syrian official told Reuters news agency that "we welcome any step that would cease the fire and pave the way for peaceful solutions."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said the cease-fire would be monitored by Russian military police in coordination with the Americans and Jordanians.

He said it would include "securing humanitarian access and setting up contacts between the opposition in the region and a monitoring center that is being established in Jordan's capital."

Several cease-fires have been announced during the conflict in Syria, but none has lasted for a significant time.

Peace talks sponsored by the United Nations are scheduled to resume in Geneva on July 10.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, and dpa

Source: https://www.rferl.org/a/syria-ceasefire- russia-united-states-jordan-assad -islamic-state/28605365.html

Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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