Syria backs US & Russia-brokered ceasefire 'if fight against terrorists continues' - media

The Syrian government has accepted the terms of a ceasefire deal announced by the US and Russia, a foreign ministry source said, as cited by Sana news agency. But Damascus wants the fight against terrorists such as Islamic State to continue.

The source added that Syrian authorities would coordinate with Russia to decide which groups and areas would be included in the "cessation of hostilities" plan.

Syria said that it was important to seal the borders and halt foreign support for armed groups, as well as to prevent "these organizations from strengthening their capabilities or changing their positions, in order to avoid… wrecking this agreement," according to the source.

The source said that Syria “affirms readiness to continue to coordinate with the Russian side to identify the areas and armed groups that are to be included in the ceasefire during the period it is in effect.”

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Syria said that it was important to seal the borders, halt foreign support for armed groups and prevent “these organizations from boosting their capabilities or changing their positions as to avoid anything that may undermine this agreement,” according to the source.

Damascus announced its acceptance of a halt to combat operations on the basis of continuing military efforts to combat terrorism – against Daesh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State), Al-Nusra Front, and the other terrorist organizations linked to it and to Al Qaeda, according to the Russian-US plan.

Turkey said it welcomed the ceasefire plans, adding, however, that it is not optimistic about a positive outcome of the talks on a political transition, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said, as cited by Reuters.

On Monday, Russia and the US adopted “Terms for a Cessation of Hostilities in Syria” and proposed that a ceasefire start on Saturday, February 26 at midnight Damascus time. 

According to the statement, the truce will “be applied to [all] those parties to the Syrian conflict that have indicated their commitment” to accept its terms. It will exclude Islamic State, the Nusra Front and “other terrorist organizations designated by the UN Security Council.”

On Tuesday, Russia's Defense Ministry said the coordination center to reconcile the warring parties in Syria started its work at the Khmeimin airbase near Latakia, which Moscow has been using for its anti-terror air campaign.