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UPDATE: With Friday’s sign-up deadline for Saturday’s scheduled cease-fire in Syria approaching, Russian President Vladimir Putin Wednesday made a flurry of personal phone calls to leaders in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Israel to win support for the cease-fire. This, according to sources quoted by The Guardian. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is also reported to have noted that if this cease fire fails, it may lead to the partiton of Syria.
Syria — A cease-fire in the five-year-long Syrian Civil War has been brokered by the U.S. and Russia with hostilities scheduled to stop on Saturday, Feb. 27.
The agreement was announced Monday by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, according to TIME. “I am gratified to see the final arrangements concluded today for a cessation of hostilities in Syria and call on all parties to accept and fully comply with its terms,” Kerry said in a statement.
The parties involved have until midnight Friday to sign the agreement. This does not include the terrorist factions, ISIL/Levant, Daesh, al Qaida, and the al Nusra Front.
Speculation is that Russia has pressured Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad into the agreement. This is the second time a cease-fire has been tried, one scheduled for last Friday, Feb. 19, was generally ignored.
In an effort to derail the cease-fire, ISIS launched air attacks on Homs and Damascus, killing 150 persons and wounding 200. Should the civil war be put on hold, more attention could then be focused on ISIS and their stronghold in Raqqa.
According to the publication Sputnik, a hot line between the two presidents, Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin, will be established to work out details of the cease-fire pact.
The Syrian Opposition Coordinator, former Prime Minister Riad Hijab, is expected to meet to discuss the cease-fire and said the agreement should be framed according to international guarantees, according to The Guardian sources.
“The agreement on ceasefire in Syria won’t stick unless it specifically tells Russia what targets it can/can’t attack,” said Yury Barmin, an analyst on Russian Middle East policy, writing on Twitter.
The Syrian Civil War started five years ago after peaceful demonstrations against the Assad regime were met with deadly force.