Syria ceasefire begins as international aid agencies prepare to deliver aid

A nationwide ceasefire in Syria brokered by the United States and Russia came into effect on Monday as aid agencies prepared to send food and medical supplies to the besieged city of Aleppo.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war from a network of sources in the country, said major conflict zones were calm after the ceasefire took effect. The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement that a delivery of aid to Aleppo would start immediately.

The agreement initially aims to stop fighting between western-backed rebels and forces loyal to the Syrian government, and allow aid to enter areas where it is most desperately needed.

Turkey on Monday said more than 30 aid trucks, under UN supervision, were ready to deliver humanitarian supplies to the city, amid hopes that the truce will hold and secure a rare lull in a war that has killed almost 300,000 people and displaced millions from their homes.

Britain’s former foreign secretary, David Miliband, now chief executive of the International Rescue Committee, said the deal offered the best chance of a ceasefire since the five-year civil war began. He said aid agencies had been given assurances at the highest level that they would be able to deliver aid over the next week if all sides complied with the agreement.

[The Guardian]

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