Kerry: 'Provisional' Syria Ceasefire Deal Reached

Could go into effect within days
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 21, 2016 6:26 AM CST
In this photo taken on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, soldiers from the Syrian army carry a rocket to fire at Islamic State group positions in the province of Raqqa, Syria. In recent weeks, Syrian government...   (Alexander Kots)
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(Newser) – Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that a "provisional agreement" has been reached on a ceasefire that could begin in the next few days in Syria's five-year civil war. Kerry said he spoke in the morning with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to discuss terms of a ceasefire and the two now must reach out to the parties in the conflict. "There is a stark choice for everybody here," Kerry said. He declined to go into the details of the agreement because all parties need to be fully consulted. Kerry said he hoped President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin would talk soon and that after that, implementation could begin.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Lavrov and Kerry spoke Sunday for a second day and discussed "the modality and conditions" for a ceasefire in Syria that would exclude groups that the UN Security Council considers terrorist organizations. He said Russia has to talk with Iran and the Syrian government and the US has to talk with the opposition and members of the International Syria Support Group. "What we are trying to achieve is a process with precision and commitment, and if we get that, that's the best opportunity for the people of Syria to see the violence reduced," Kerry said. "The opposition is tough. The opposition is not about to stop. And the opposition has made clear their determination to continue to fight back." He said enforcement issues still need to be resolved. (Read more Syrian civil war stories.)

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