US, Russia 'agree freeze' in fighting along two Syrian fronts

Damascus: The United States and Russia have agreed on a "freeze" in fighting along two major fronts in Syria, but not in war-ravaged Aleppo, the Syrian and Russian militaries said on Friday.

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

In a statement carried on state television, Syria's armed forces said the freeze would begin at 1:00 am on Saturday (2200 GMT Friday).

It would last for 24 hours in Damascus and the nearby rebel bastion of Eastern Ghouta, and for 72 hours in the coastal province of Latakia, the heartland of President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite sect.

There was no mention of Aleppo, where a week of fighting has killed more than 200 civilians.

"This announcement came after a request from the Americans and the Russians, who met in Geneva to calm down the situation in Damascus and Latakia," a security source in Damascus told AFP.

"The Americans asked for Aleppo to be included, but the Russians refused," the source said.

Russia is a key backer of Assad's regime, while the US has supported various opposition factions in the country.

A diplomatic source quoted by Russian state news agency RIA Novosti said that Moscow and Washington, co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group, "are the guarantors of the 'regime of silence' implementation by the sides."

The source said the freeze would take effect at midnight Friday. The reason for the discrepancy was unclear.


Updated Date: Apr 29, 2016 22:48 PM

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