Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has announced that the United States and Russia have agreed on a ceasefire in southwestern Syria, aiming to halt all fighting in the area, and according to US officials allowing the rebels to shift their focus to fighting against ISIS.
Details are still scant on this, and it’s not clear how far east the ceasefire is intended to extend. US officials say the entire goal is to stop attacks against the rebels, while Russia clearly wants the US to stop attacking pro-government forces in the region. There has also been mention of humanitarian aid being allowed in, but past ceasefires have almost uniformly failed at that goal.
The ceasefire is to begin at noon on Sunday, and is open-ended. Tillerson said it could be a first step which, if successful, would be spread to other parts of the country. He also, however, added that the US still insists upon Syrian President Assad and his entire family being removed from any positions of power in Syria.
While this is not the first US-Russia ceasefire brokered in Syria, it’s the first in quite some time, as recent Syrian ceasefires have been brokered mostly by Russia, Turkey, and Iran, with the US insisting that the deals don’t apply to their ongoing military operations.