Russia, U.S. agree on Syria ceasefire deal

Turkey objected to the proposals on the table, and their meeting ended with no deal.
By Paul Pate | Jul 10, 2017
U.S. and Russian officials secretly formulated a ceasefire agreement for southwestern Syria while meeting during this week's G-20 summit in Hamburg, a U.S. official said Friday. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the ceasefire was a "defined agreement" and could be the start to further Russia-U.S. cooperation on Syria.
"This is our first indication of the US and Russia being able to work together in Syria," Tillerson said.
Russia and the United States are conducting military campaigns in different areas of Syria due to their vastly different strategies for resolving the ongoing civil war. This latest ceasefire will reportedly go into effect on Sunday and will establish a de-escalation zone in Syria's south, which will create a barrier of separation between U.S. and Russian combat missions and help avert any friendly-fire incidents.
Russian and U.S. officials held some closed-door meetings to discuss a de-escalation zone in early June. Diplomats told reporters that the discussed proposal at the time was for a zone in the Deraa province, on the Syria-Jordan border; and in Quneitra, which borders the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Tillerson has said that the United States is also willing to work out details with Russia on no-fly zones, ceasefire observers, and coordinated deliveries of humanitarian assistance.
Tillerson was present during Friday's closed-door meeting, along with President Trump, Putin, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. This meeting was the first time that Trump and Putin have met since Trump's inauguration in January.
Their meeting also follows a less-fruitful private discussion that Putin held with Iranian and Turkish officials on de-escalation zones. Turkey objected to the proposals on the table, and their meeting ended with no deal.

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