Following lengthy discussions in Geneva, a ceasefire plan has been agreed upon by the United States and Russia. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the news in a joint press conference on Friday.
According to CNN, the plan is entirely dependent on the Syrian government as well as oppositional group’s willingness to respect the ceasefire. The plan is set to take effect on Monday at sundown—just as the Muslim festival Eid al-Adha begins.
It’s worth noting that the plan essentially grounds Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s air force by preventing the fleet from carrying out combat missions in opposition territory. Lavrov stated that the agreement has been presented to Assad, who reportedly stated that the Syrian government will adhere to it.
If the ceasefire holds for a week, the United States and Russia will work together to combat both ISIS as well as the al Nusra Front. As Kerry noted in the joint press conference, combatting the Al Qaeda faction is “profoundly in the interest of the United States.”
“If groups within the legitimate opposition want to retain their legitimacy, they need to distance themselves in every way possible from Nusra and Daesh,” Kerry said.
The ceasefire plan could make a significant difference in Rebel-held Aleppo, Syria’s most populous city and an area that has seen a recent uptick in violence. Under the ceasefire plan, humanitarian and aid groups will still be allowed to help those in need.
UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura was incredibly hopeful about the plan, which may still run the risk of failing. Despite its uncertainties, after Kerry and Lavrov’s lengthy discussion and subsequent press conference, Mistura summarized things succinctly: “It has been a long day with a good result.”