Syrian government accepts Russia-US ceasefire deal

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has accepted a ceasefire deal agreed by Russia and the United States that is set to begin later this week, the state-run SANA news agency reported Tuesday.

The agreement, which does not apply to Islamic State and other UN-designated terrorist groups, would begin at midnight local time Saturday (2200 GMT Friday), according to the State Department.

Al-Assad also excluded "terrorist" groups, including the al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra Front, saying they are not parties.

The Syrian opposition has been more cautious. The Higher Negotiations Committee of rebel and opposition groups said its agreement is conditional on there being international guarantees that Russian and Iranian forces will respect the truce.

The opposition also demanded the implementation of humanitarian measures including an end to sieges, artillery shelling and air raids.

As part of the agreement between Moscow, which backs al-Assad, and Washington, which believes the Syrian president has lost the legitimacy to rule, the warring factions must indicate their willingness to abide by the ceasefire agreement by noon Friday.

The US acknowledged implementation will be difficult. "We know that there are a lot of obstacles, and there are sure to be some setbacks," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Last update: Tue, 23/02/2016 - 11:54

More from World

Britain's May will be first foreign leader to meet President Trump

British Prime Minister Theresa May will be the first foreign leader to visit new US President Donald Trump, the...

Ex-leader Jammeh leaves Gambia paving way for president's return

Gambians celebrated in the streets Saturday as ruler Yahya Jammeh left the country after 22 years in power,...

Trump's hiring of son-in-law doesn't violate nepotism laws

US President Donald Trump may hire his son-in-law Jared Kushner to be one of his most influential White House...

Trump vows support for intel community after Russia hacking spat

President Donald Trump vowed support for the US intelligence community in a visit to the Central Intelligence Agency...

Netanyahu wants to discuss Iranian threat with Trump

Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu wants to coordinate future Iran policy with US President Donald Trump, he wrote...