Trump meets Putin; reach ceasefire deal in Syria

Isaac Cain
July 9, 2017

"At noon Sunday, local time, a zone of de-escalation is to take effect in south-western Syria", said Saturday in a press release the general H. R. McMaster. Tillerson, who accompanied Mr. Trump in his meeting with Putin, said the understanding is created to reduce violence in an area of Syria near Jordan's border and which is critical to the us ally's security. A separate US-Russia-brokered truce for southern Syria, brokered by the USA and Russia, is meant to help allay growing concerns by neighboring Jordan and Israel about Iranian military ambitions in the area.

The US is encouraged by progress achieved with Russian Federation and Jordan in establishment of a de-escalation zone in Southwest Syria, McMaster said. "It is a first step in what we envision to be a complex and robust ceasefire agreement in southwest Syria".

The United States remains committed to defeating ISIS, helping to end the conflict in Syria, reducing suffering, and enabling people to return to their homes.

- In September, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced a similar truce, but it quickly disintegrated. Moreover, he said, Tehran supports the regime of Bashar al-Assad, and "would back the Syrian government if it violates a U.S. -Russia brokered deal".

Amid criticism of Russia's actions in Ukraine and Syria and the investigations into its role in the US campaign, Trump has come under growing pressure to take a hard line against the Kremlin.

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"If our two countries work together to establish stability on the ground, it will lay a foundation for progress on the settlement of Syria's political future", said Tillerson. In Israel's view, the United States can be relied upon to warn away and even bomb Iranian-armed groups that may transgress a potential cease-fire zone - as USA warplanes did just last month.

Russian Federation and Iran are the main worldwide backers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while Washington supports some of the rebel groups fighting for his ouster.

In the past, Russian Federation has displayed an unwillingness to pressure the Assad government to abide by ceasefires. "Syria's government briefly extended that unilateral cease-fire, which is now set to expire Saturday - a day before the USA and Russian deal would take effect". Follow-up talks this week in Kazakhstan to finalise a ceasefire in those zones failed to reach a deal.

A monitoring center for the deal will be set up in Jordan, and the Russian military police will ensure its implementation. A renewed government offensive against Western-backed rebels and Islamic militants in the contested province of Daraa also is sparking tensions, and Iranian-backed Hezbollah fighters have shifted south to join the fight.

U.S. President Donald Trump, Russia's President Vladimir Putin and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker talk during the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany in this still image taken from video, July 7, 2017.

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