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U.S. and Russia Reach Agreement on Truce in Southwestern Syria

Hamburg, July 8 (RHC)-- The United States and Russia have reached a deal on a truce in southwestern Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.  The top Russian diplomat said that Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed on the truce deal during talks held in a "constructive atmosphere" on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.  Lavrov said the ceasefire would take effect from July 9th.

Earlier, three U.S. officials, who asked not to be named as they were not authorized to discuss the ceasefire publicly, said the truce was set to take effect Sunday at noon Damascus time.  The officials said Moscow and Washington had been discussing a potential deal for some time, but it only reached fruition in the run-up to Trump's first meeting with Putin.

Jordan state news agency Petra reported that the kingdom was also part of the ceasefire.  The agreement is separate from "de-escalation zones" that were to be created under a deal mediated by Russia, Iran and Turkey during the fourth round of peace talks in Astana in May.

Syria has been hit by deadly foreign-backed militancy since March 2011.  Russia and the United States have been supporting opposing sides in the conflict in Syria with Moscow backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Washington backing militants fighting to topple the Damascus government.
Edited by Lena Valverde Jordi
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