Syrian gov’t accepts halt to ‘combat operations’ in line with US-Russian plan
DAMASCUS – Reuters
A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on February 20, 2016 shows President Bashar al-Assad gesturing during an interview with Spanish daily El Pais in the Syrian capital Damascus. AFP PhotoThe Syrian government said on Feb. 23 that it accepted a halt to “combat operations” that does not include the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, or groups connected to it, in line with a U.S.-Russian plan.
It said it would coordinate with Russia to decide which groups and areas would be included in the “cessation of hostilities” plan which is due to take effect on Feb. 27 according to the U.S.-Russian plan.
In a statement, the government stressed the importance of sealing the borders and halting foreign support to armed groups and “preventing these organizations from strengthening their capabilities or changing their positions, in order to avoid what may lead to wrecking this agreement.”
The Syrian government announced “its acceptance of a halt to combat operations on the basis of continuing military efforts to combat terrorism against Daesh, the Nusra Front, and the other terrorist organizations linked to it and to the al-Qaeda organization, according to the Russian-American announcement.”
Daesh is an Arabic acronym for ISIL.
The Syrian military reserved the right to “respond to any breach by these groups against Syrian citizens or against its armed forces,” the statement added.