Syrian army declares 72-hour halt in fighting | News | DW | 06.07.2016
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Syrian army declares 72-hour halt in fighting

The Syrian regime troops have announced a unilateral three-day ceasefire coinciding with the end of Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The truce applies to the whole country, according to the army's statement.

The ceasefire had already entered into effect, Syria's military said on Wednesday.

A "regime of calm" is set to last until midnight Friday and be "implemented across all territory of the Syrian Arab Republic," they said in a statement published by the state media.

There was no immediate reaction from the opposition groups, and no indication that the Damascus regime coordinated the decision with them.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that there had been continued shelling by rebel and government forces in areas around the northern city of Aleppo on Wednesday, as well as airstrikes in the Aleppo countryside.

Hope for extension

US Secretary of State John Kerry praised the truce on Wednesday and said he was working with Russia and others to extend the ceasefire.

"We very much welcome the Syrian army declaration of 72-hours of quiet," Kerry told a news conference during a visit to Georgia.

"We are trying very hard to grow these current discussions into a longer lasting ... enforceable, accountable cessation of hostilities that could change the dynamics on the ground," he said.

Holiday break

Earlier this year, the United States and Russia brokered a nationwide ceasefire that led to a drastic drop in the violence. However, the truce did not apply to the "Islamic State" group and the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front. The fighting was eventually resumed after a government offensive in the north.

Moscow has also proclaimed a number of temporary "regimes of calm" in several regions to allow for distribution of humanitarian aid, including in Aleppo and Damascus.

The Wednesday truce coincides with the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, the three day event marking the end of Ramadan.

rs, dj/sms (AFP, Reuters, dpa, AP)