US, Russia agree on Syrian ceasefire

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The announcement came two days before President Trump is expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

Russia, Turkey and Iran failed in talks on Wednesday to finalize an agreement on creating four de-escalation zones in Syria after Ankara raised objections, diplomats said. A fourth de-escalation zone in southern Syria has also been considered, but it needs the involvement of other countries, such as the US.

Russia and the United States support opposing sides in Syria - Russia backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and also carries out strikes against anti-Assad rebel groups, some of whom are armed and supported by the U.S. to fight ISIS.

It is unclear how this cease-fire would affect USA and coalition combat against ISIS as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, particularly the crucial siege now underway against the jihadis' last major stronghold of Raqqa, in the north.

Tillerson said the USA would also discuss with Moscow joint efforts to implement ceasefires and deliver humanitarian aid.

Meanwhile on the ground in Syria the battle to recapture the city of Raqqa from self-styled Islamic State is continuing.

Obama wanted to limit America's involvement in Syria's civil war. He added the United States wanted to discuss with Russian Federation the use of on-the-ground ceasefire observers and the coordinated delivery of humanitarian aid to Syrians.

Lavrov has made clear that such zones are different from the safe zones, which Russia, Turkey, and Iran established with the full support of the United Nations Security Council and the government of Syria. However, Moscow's chief negotiator at a fifth round of Syria peace talks in Astana said on July 5 that the basic framework had been "essentially agreed".

The secretary's statement also floated the idea that, if the creation of such zones is successful, "it will lay a foundation for progress on the settlement of Syria's political future".

Standing alongside Lavrov, he said that France, which has backed opposition groups fighting Assad, had set a red line on the use of chemical weapons in the country.

Tillerson said the United States and Russian Federation have "unresolved differences" on various issues, but also the potential for cooperation.

Russian Federation warned its military would track aircraft from the US-led coalition as potential targets over Syria and suspended a hotline meant to avoid midair incidents after the U.S. downed a Syrian jet last week that had dropped bombs near the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. How he leaves could be determined later, the political process should include a transition away from the Assad family, he added. However, US forces have attacked pro-Syrian government forces that were deemed to have encroached on their positions. Trump's administration has approached the notoriously strained relationship by trying to identify a few limited issues on which the countries could make progress, thereby building trust for a broader fix of ties.


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