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Ceasefire in Syria ‘important step’ in fighting terrorism

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Donald Trump and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster board Air Force One before departing from Andrews Air Force Base for Miami, Florida on June 16, 2017. (Photos by AFP)

The ceasefire deal between the United States and Russia is an “important step” in fighting terrorism, says US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.

The US general made the comments on Saturday, one day after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson praised the ceasefire arrangements for southwestern Syria.

"The United States remains committed to defeating ISIS, helping to end the conflict in Syria, reducing suffering, and enabling people to return to their homes. This agreement is an important step toward these common goals," McMaster (pictured below) said in a statement before the ceasefire was set to take effect at noon Damascus time.

On Friday, Tillerson called the effort the "first indication of the US and Russia being able to work together in Syria."

This is not the first time that the US and Russia have brokered temporary cease-fire in war –ravaged Syria, the latest being one reached under former President Barack Obama last September.

Despite their stated efforts to fight terrorism in Syria, Washington and Moscow have been on opposite sides of the Syrian conflict, with Russia backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the anti-terror fight and the US insisting on toppling him.

News of the ceasefire emerged as Trump held his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

On June 18, the Syrian army said that the US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group had targeted one of its Sukhoi Su-22 warplanes over al-Rasafa area in the southern countryside of Raqqah Province.

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On April 7, US warships in the eastern Mediterranean launched a barrage of 59 Tomahawk missiles against Shayrat Air Base in Syria’s Homs Province, which Washington alleged was the origin of a suspected chemical attack on the town of Khan Shaykhun in Syria’s Idlib Province.

Syrian soldiers hold a security checkpoint in the village of Khirbat al-Sa'ab, on the western outskirts of Raqah province July 8, 2017.

Washington has so far failed to provide any evidence to support the accusations, prompting criticisms from many countries and international intuitions that the US took unilateral military action hastily and without proof.

Without the Syrian government’s consent, the US is conducting a military campaign in Syria purportedly striking Daesh Takfiri targets in the conflict-stricken country.

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