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article imageRussia, U.S. agree to Syrian ceasefire but doubts remain

By John McAuliffe     Feb 23, 2016 in World
The U.S. and Russia have negotiated a Syria ceasefire plan to be implemented by midday on Friday. All warring parties except Islamic State and al-Nusra Front are encouraged to adhere to the truce.
The U.S. and Russia have announced the latest proposed ceasefire agreement for Syria after the previous plans announced in Munich earlier this month failed to be implemented. The new plans are due to take effect on February 27 and will exclude IS and al-Nusra Front, two Sunni terrorist organisations currently fighting in Syria.
Upon agreeing to the deal, the two powers released a joint statement: "The United States of America and the Russian Federation, as co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group, are fully determined to provide their strongest support to end the Syrian conflict and establish conditions for a Syrian-led political transition process."
The main militant force with Western backing fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and IS has expressed its willingness to adhere to the ceasefire deal if "conditions" were met. The group, termed "moderate opposition" by the US, is based out of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and released a statement stating it "agreed to respond positively to international efforts to reach a peace deal" but its "commitment to the truce is conditional."
Assad immediately adhered to expectations of a Syrian-led political transition. As the negotiations concluded, Assad announced a general election for April 13. The previous election, held in 2012, saw Assad's ruling coalition maintain power by winning a majority in the 250-member parliament. The vote was held during the ongoing civil war.
The ceasefire will allow for the delivery of much-needed humanitarian aid to Syrian civilians who are caught in the middle of an increasingly complicated civil war. However, with dozens of warring factions all with their own agenda, the failure of the previous ceasefire plan only last week, and the exclusion of IS and al-Nusra, against which air strikes will continue as usual, skeptics remain doubtful about the successful implementation of the new deal.
Saudi Arabia was excluded from the talks. The Sunni regime has begun military deployments to Turkey and has frequently expressed intense hostility towards Assad. The ruling monarchy has also expressed enthusiasm for joining the conflict in Syria. They are currently engaged in a war in Yemen, where the Sunni regime backs al-Qaeda ground forces with coordinated air strikes and ground assaults. Prospects of a lasting peace in the region have been left dimmed in light of Saudi Arabia's new military role in the region and by latest arms figures; the Sunni kingdom has increased military weapons imports by 275 percent.
More about Syria, Conflict, Russia, US, Ceasefire