US, Russia 'agree freeze' on two Syrian fronts

'This announcement came after a request from the Americans and the Russians, who met in Geneva to calm down the situation in Damascus and Latakia'

US, Russia 'agree freeze' on two Syrian fronts

World Bulletin / News Desk

The United States and Russia have agreed on a "freeze" in fighting along two major fronts in Syria, but not in war-ravaged Aleppo, the Syrian and Russian militaries said Friday.

In a statement carried on state television, Syria's armed forces said the freeze would begin at 1:00 am on Saturday (2200 GMT Friday).

It would last for 24 hours in Damascus and the nearby opposition bastion of Eastern Ghouta, and for 72 hours in the coastal province of Latakia, the heartland of President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite sect.

There was no mention of Aleppo, where a week of fighting has killed more than 200 civilians.

"This announcement came after a request from the Americans and the Russians, who met in Geneva to calm down the situation in Damascus and Latakia," a security source in Damascus said.

"The Americans asked for Aleppo to be included, but the Russians refused," the source said.

Russia is a key backer of Assad's regime, while the U.S. has supported various opposition factions in the country.

A diplomatic source said that Moscow and Washington, co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group, "are the guarantors of the 'regime of silence' implementation by the sides."

The source said the freeze would take effect at midnight Friday. The reason for the discrepancy was unclear.

Russian Lieutenant-General Sergei Kuralenko, based in the Hmeimim airbase in Latakia province, said that during the freeze, "all combat and using any weapons will be forbidden".

"We call upon all parties interested in establishing peace on Syrian land to support the Russian-American initiative and not disrupt the 'regime of silence'," he said.

In February, the U.S. and Russia brokered a partial truce in Syria between regime forces and the opposition.

Although violence dropped across large parts of the country, fighting against the ISIL and Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front continued in Latakia, the eastern province of Deir Ezzor and elsewhere.

Eastern Ghouta is held by the powerful Jaish al-Islam (Army of Islam) opposition group, which has signed on to the truce.

But fighting there between Jaish al-Islam and regime forces has been building in recent weeks.

Opposition factions in Eastern Ghouta and Latakia were not immediately available for comment on the freeze.

More than 270,000 people have been killed since Syria's conflict erupted in March 2011 with anti-government protests.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Nisan 2016, 16:28