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Russia, US pledge adherence to Syria truce

Syrian men carry an injured youth in the government-controlled side of the northern city of Aleppo following shelling by militants on April 28, 2016. (AFP photo)

Russia and the United States have confirmed their commitment to an existing ceasefire in Syria and intend to intensify their efforts to ensure its implementation.

Moscow, which co-chairs the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) together with Washington, in a joint statement on Monday called on warring parties in Syria to "cease any indiscriminate attacks on civilians, including civilian infrastructure and medical facilities."

According to the statement, Moscow also pledged to work with the Syrian government "to minimize aviation operations over areas that are predominantly inhabited by civilians or parties to the cessation."

"As a result, we have decided to reconfirm our commitment to the CoH (cessation of hostilities) in Syria and to intensify efforts to ensure its nation-wide implementation. We also intend to enhance efforts to promote humanitarian assistance to all people in need in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254."  

The statement added: "In order to maintain the effectiveness of the CoH, the co-chairs are committed to undertaking efforts to develop a shared understanding of the threat posed, and territory controlled, by ISIL [Daesh] and the Nusra Front, and to consider ways to deal decisively against the threat posed by ISIL (Daesh) and Nusra Front to Syria and international security."

The truce, brokered by Russia and the United States, went into effect late February in a bid to facilitate negotiations between warring sides to the conflict.

The Takfiri Daesh militants and al-Nusra Front are excluded from the “cessation of the hostilities” agreement reached in late February as an attempt for facilitating peace talks.

The truce is still officially in place in many parts of Syria despite surging violence in Aleppo, which has been a flashpoint over the past weeks.

The United States and Russia last week agreed on trying to cooperate with parties on the ground in Syria to extend a ceasefire to include the northern city.

The Syrian government has announced a regime of silence in the troubled city.  The shaky ceasefire is part of international efforts to build on a wide-ranging ceasefire introduced in February.

On Monday, militants shelled the government-held neighborhood of Midan in Aleppo, killing a child. The shelling comes hours before a five-day ceasefire was to expire.

Syrian emergency personnel secure a street after rockets fired by militants hit Al-Dabbeet hospital in the government-controlled neighborhood of Muhafaza in Aleppo, May 3, 2016. (AFP)

Aleppo has been divided between the government forces and militants since 2012, a year after the conflict broke out in the Arab country.

Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has recently said that the Syria peace process have made more progress in the past few weeks than during the last five years.

A “framework acceptable to all” has been reached between the key players, including not only “the United States and Russia, but also Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia,” he added during an interview with the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung daily newspaper published on Saturday.

“Giving up and looking away is not an option,” he said.

Since March 2011, the United States and its regional allies, in particular Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, have been conducting a proxy war against Syria.

According to a February report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injured 1.9 million others, and displaced nearly half of the pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond Syria’s borders.

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