After talks in Munich, world powers have agreed to “cessation of hostilities” in Syria beginning in a week’s time.
The cessation does not apply to battle against terrorist groups like IS and Al-Nusra in Syria.
International Syria Support Group (ISSG) has also agreed to supply aid deliveries to citizens trapped in cities seized by the government forces.
The announcement comes as the Syrian army, backed by Russian air strikes, advances in Aleppo province.
The move threatens to encircle tens of thousands of civilians in rebel-held parts of the major city of Aleppo.
The Syrian government has not yet responded, though a key rebel coalition welcomed the announcement.
“If we see action and implementation on the ground, we will be soon in Geneva,” Salim al-Muslat told reporters, referring to the Swiss city where the UN is trying to get peace talks between the Syrian government and rebels off the ground.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke in Munich, Germany, where top diplomats from more than a dozen countries, including the United States and Russia, met to hammer out a deal. “I’m pleased to say that as a result today in
Munich, we believe we have made progress on both the humanitarian front and the cessation of hostilities front, and these two fronts, this progress, has the potential — fully implemented, fully followed through on — to be able to change the daily lives of the Syrian people,” Kerry said.
“First, we have agreed to accelerate and expand the delivery of humanitarian aid beginning immediately,” he told reporters.
“Second, we have agreed to implement a nationwide cessation of hostilities to begin in a target of one week’s time.
That’s ambitious, but everybody is determined to move as rapidly as possible to try to achieve this.”
The agreement includes the following points:
To try to immediately step up aid deliveries to besieged and hard-to-reach areas in Syria
For a US/Russia-led task force to work to achieve a “cessation of hostilities” across Syria beginning in one week’s time
“Cessation of hostilities” will exclude action against so-called Islamic State group, jihadist group al-Nusra Front and other UN-designated terrorist groups
To work towards an eventual ceasefire and implementation of a UN-backed plan for political transition in Syria
The Syrian uprising began in March 2011. At least 250,000 people have died and 12 million displaced because of the conflict, according to the United Nations.
“What we have here are words on paper. What we need to see in the next few days are actions on the ground,” Kerry told reporters.
His point was echoed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who spoke at the same news conference in Munich.
Lavrov said that a ceasefire would be difficult but characterized what was announced Friday as a “step forward.”
“We have a common determination to reduce the suffering of the Syrian people,” he said.