Beirut: A cease-fire brokered by the United States and Russia went into effect across Syria on Saturday, marking the biggest international push to reduce violence in the country's devastating conflict, but the Islamic State group and al-Qaida’s branch in Syria, the Nusra Front, were excluded.
The cease-fire aims to bring representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition back to the negotiating table in Geneva for talks on a political transition.
The UN’s envoy, Staffan de Mistura, announced that peace talks would resume on March 7 if the cessation of hostilities “largely holds.”
If it does, it would be the first time international negotiations have brought any degree of quiet in Syria's five-year civil war. But success requires adherence by multiple armed factions and the truce is made more fragile because it allows fighting to continue against the IS group and Nusra Front, which could easily re-ignite broader warfare.
The Syrian government and the opposition, including nearly 100 rebel groups, have said they will abide by the cease-fire