Syrian Rivals Sign Up To US- Russian Peace Plan

Physinews Reports: The US and Russia have unveiled a plan
aimed at ending the Syrian civil war and
leading to political transition in the country.

The agreement calls for a nationwide
ceasefire to begin on 12 September - the
start of the Muslim Eid al Adha holiday.


The Syrian government has told Moscow it is
prepared to comply with the deal.
Opposition forces have also said they will
fulfill the peace plan's requirements if the
Syrian government demonstrates it is serious
about ending the bloodshed.

Syria's moderate Free Syrian Army said they
saw little chance of the deal's success, with
a spokesman for one of its brigades saying
that Damascus and Moscow had not
observed the last agreement so were unlikely
to observe this one.

"We hope this will be the beginning of the end
of the civilians' ordeal," Bassma Kodmani, a
leading member of the opposition umbrella
group, the High Negotiations Committee,
said.

But Captain Abdul Salam Abdul Razak, a
spokesman for the rebel Nour al-Din al Zinki
Brigades, said the deal would only help the
Syrian army to gather forces and send more
Iranian-backed fighters into Aleppo.

Truces agreed in the past have collapsed
after both sides failed to hold up their ends of
the bargain.
Hours after the deal was announced, the
opposition Syrian Observatory for Human
Rights said dozens of people had been killed
and wounded on Russian airstrikes near the
city of Idlib.

If the planned cessation of hostilities holds
for seven days, it will be followed by an
unlikely military partnership between the US
and Russia to target Islamic State and al
Qaeda.

"Going after Nusra is not a concession to
anybody," US Secretary of State John Kerry
said.

"It is profoundly in the interests of the United
States to target al Qaeda, to target al
Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, which is Nusra, an
organisation that is opposed to a peaceful
transition, an organisation that is an enemy
of the legitimate opposition, an organisation
that is currently plotting attacks beyond
Syria's borders, including against the United
States."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
added: "I want to stress that distinguishing
between terrorists and moderate oppositions
has been written as a priority into the
document that we agreed today."
Washington has been tasked with
persuading "moderate" rebels to break away
from the Nusra Front and other extremist
groups.

Mr Kerry said the deal the was
a potential "turning point" in the long-
running civil war which has killed as many as
500,000 people and displaced millions of
others.

However, he warned the plan could be
described as nothing more than an
opportunity until it is successfully enforced.

Mr Lavrov said the deal would allow efficient
co-operation in the struggle against
terrorism, and expand humanitarian access
to Syria's worst-hit towns and cities.

Turkey, which made a major military
incursion into the north of Syria two weeks
ago, said it was preparing aid for Aleppo
once the truce was in place.

Mr Kerry and Mr Lavrov have met four times
since 26 August - and Moscow has been
pressuring the Assad regime to suspend
offensive operations against civilian areas
and Syria's armed opposition.

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson
welcomed the plan, adding a call for "all
parties to the Syria conflict and all countries
with influence upon them to do what is
needed to end violence and lift sieges".

The announcement of the deal in Geneva was
delayed for several hours by internal US
discussions.

As tired journalists awaited news, Mr Lavrov
took it upon himself to deliver boxes of pizza
"from the US delegation", followed by two
bottles of vodka "from the Russian
delegation".