From the Washington Post:
MUNICH — The United States, Russia and other powers have reached agreement on a “cessation of hostilities” in Syria’s civil war that allows for immediate humanitarian access to besieged areas, Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced here early Friday morning.
The end of hostilities, which Kerry avoided calling a cease-fire, is scheduled to go into effect “in one week’s time,” Kerry said. Humanitarian access to towns and cities in Syria where food and medical supplies have been blocked, sometimes for months, is to begin immediately.
“It was unanimous,” Kerry said. “Everybody today agreed on the urgency of humanitarian access. What we have here are words on paper. What we need to see in the next few days are actions on the ground.”
Agreement came after day-long consultations that lasted until early Friday here. Hours earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov huddled with his counterpart from Iran, Russia’s ally in backing the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, and Secretary of State John F. Kerry sat down with allies backing the Syrian opposition, before all parties gathered for a joint meeting at which the deal was struck.
Lavrov called cessation of hostilities the “first step” toward a full cease-fire.
The effort has been considered a last chance to stop the carnage in Syria that has left hundreds of thousands dead and sent millions fleeing from the country. What was already a desperate situation in Syria has greatly worsened over the past few weeks, as massive Russian bombardment in and around the city of Aleppo has scattered opposition fighters and driven tens of thousands of civilians toward the barricaded Turkish border.
Participants said they had noted a new resolve in U.S. willingness to stand up to the Russians, who agreed in December to a U.N. resolution calling for a cease-fire in conjunction with peace negotiations...MORE