The United States and Russia agreed a deal Friday to impose a ceasefire in Syria, and if the truce holds they will begin a joint military effort against Takfiri insurgents.
US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the truce would come into force on Monday, the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
“Today, the United States and Russia are announcing a plan which we hope will reduce violence, ease suffering and resume movement towards a negotiated peace and a political transition in Syria,” Kerry said.
Both Kerry and Lavrov said the plan represents the best available chance to end the fighting between the Syrian government and the opposition militants, including the Takfiri insurgents.
Lavrov stressed that his country had long been calling for closer cooperation with the US to fight Al Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, and the ISIL Takfiri groups.
“Despite all the problems, despite the mistrust, despite the attempts to disrupt what we agreed today, we have been able to work on a package of documents,” Lavrov said.
“All this creates the conditions for a return to the political process,” he added.
The Pentagon warned in a statement following the announcement that any “potential military cooperation” between the US and Russia was contingent on the terms of the truce being “fully met”.
“We will jointly agree on strikes against terrorists to be carried out by the Russian and American air forces. We have agreed on the zones in which these strikes will be carried out,” said Lavrov.
“Only the Russian and American air forces will work in these zones,” he added.
The final hours of the talks dragged out as Kerry contacted US President Barack Obama’s office to get approval for the plan, but the top diplomat said both governments stand behind it.