Ceasefire brokered by US and Russia begins in Syria

SYRIA — A ceasefire brokered by the US, Russia and Jordan went into effect Sunday in southwest Syria as part of an agreement hailed as a precursor to greater cooperation between Russia and the US over the war-ravaged country.

The plan was announced Friday at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, after a meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

The ceasefire takes place in the regions of Deraa and Suweida, along the Jordanian border, as well as Quneitra, near the Lebanese border. The areas in southern Syria will be the first in which the US is party to a de-escalation zone.

White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster said in a statement Saturday that such de-escalation zones are a US priority.

“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,” he said. “This agreement is an important step toward these common goals.”

The US and Russia “promised to ensure that all groups there comply with the ceasefire” and “provide humanitarian access,” Lavrov said. Russian military police — coordinating with the US and Jordan — will initially ensure security around the de-escalation zone, officials said.

A State Department official said Friday that they’re still working on how to they’re going to monitor and enforce the ceasefire.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who sat in on the discussion between the two leaders, told reporters Friday that the agreement signaled further cooperation in Syria.