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Syrian Army Declares 72-hour Nationwide Cease-Fire

  • VOA News

FILE - Syrian army soldiers patrol a street in government-controlled Aleppo's al-Khalidiya area where the army progressed towards the industrial zone of al-Layramoun and Bani Zeid on June 28, 2016.

FILE - Syrian army soldiers patrol a street in government-controlled Aleppo's al-Khalidiya area where the army progressed towards the industrial zone of al-Layramoun and Bani Zeid on June 28, 2016.

The Syrian army declared a unilateral 72-hour cease-fire across the country Wednesday, coinciding with the festivities that mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Referring to a statement by the military, the official media said the cease-fire would be in effect from 1:00 a.m. on July 6 to midnight on July 8, local time.

The statement did not give details whether the cease-fire extended to military action against jihadists, such as Islamic State and the al-Qaida-affiliated al-Nusra Front.

Kerry welcomes cease-fire

Speaking to reporters in Tbilisi, Georgia ahead of the annual NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry welcome the declaration of cease-fire, saying that it offers “a period of quiet in honor and celebration of Eid," adding that hopefully it “could perhaps be a harbinger of possibilities to come.''

Kerry appealed to all parties to honor it to allow for some respite in the country's ongoing bloodshed.

Kerry also said that the cessation of hostilities in Syria had been a “matter of discussion” within the International Syria Support Group, which Washington co-chairs with Moscow.

There was no immediate indication whether rebel forces opposing President Bashar al-Assad's regime would abide by the new cease-fire.

Previous attempts to implement cease-fires in Syria have failed, as have diplomatic efforts to end a five-year civil war that has claimed more than 280,000 lives and forced millions of people to leave their homes.

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