Syria Cease-Fire Agreement Gets Cautious Welcome

WASHINGTON - Syria says the Damascus government of embattled President Bashar al-Assad had accepted the cease-fire deal brokered by its Russian ally and the United States.

"A cessation of hostilities will begin in Aleppo for humanitarian reasons," the Syrian news agency SANA said. Hours later, the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah, which is fighting alongside Assad loyalists, said it also would honor the cease-fire, while vowing to defend itself if attacked.

Turkey, which sent its military into the multisided conflict late last month, also announced support for the truce, which is to begin at sunset Monday.

The agreement was announced early Saturday in Geneva jointly by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the agreement jointly in Geneva early Saturday.

Syrian opposition forces also said they welcomed the deal. However, since they feel neither Russian nor Syrian government forces adhered to earlier cease-fire plans, they said they doubted that a cease-fire could hold.

Moscow's influence on Damascus "is the only way to get the regime to comply," said a statement issued by Bassma Kodmani of the High Negotiations Committee of the Syrian Opposition.

Source: Voice of America