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Syrian Cease-fire Intact Ahead of Fresh Peace Talks

  • VOA News

A girl walks on debris in a rebel-held part of the southern city of Deraa, Syria, July 9, 2017.

A cease-fire in Syria brokered by the United States and Russia held through Sunday, ahead of a new round of U.N.-sponsored peace talks to finally bring an end to the six-year civil war.

Monitors reported no fighting in the three southern provinces covered by the truce, as of nightfall Sunday.

U.S. President Donald Trump was pleased.

"Syrian ceasefire seems to be holding. Many lives can be saved...good," Trump tweeted. "Now it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia."

U.S., Russian, and Jordanian diplomats put together the cease-fire on the sidelines of last week's G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

While no one from the Syrian government or its opposition was involved in the cease-fire talks, a Syrian official told Reuters that Damascus welcomes any step that could "pave the way to a peaceful solution."

A statement from opponents of Syria's Bashar al-Assad regime noted those groups were wary about what they called "secret meetings and understandings between Russia, Jordan, and America for the south of Syria, separate from the north."

Both opposition and Syrian representatives will be at the new U.N. peace talks Monday in Geneva.

Previous cease-fires have fallen apart quickly, and earlier peace talks broke up with little progress toward a permanent truce.

Hopwever, the deputy United Nations envoy for Syria, Ramzi Ezzedine Ramzi, said the new cease-fire created a "suitable atmosphere" for Monday's meetings.

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