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Ceasefire brokered by US and Russia begins in southwest Syria

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SYRIA – A US, Russian and Jordanian-brokered ceasefire went into effect in parts of southwest Syria on Sunday.

The plan was previously announced at the G20 summit after a meeting between  US President Donald Trump  and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The international efforts will take place in the province of Deraa and along the Lebanese border.

The area in southern Syria will be the first in which the US is party to a de-escalate zone.

White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster said in a statement Saturday that such de-escalation  zones are a US priority.

“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,” he said. “This agreement is an important step toward these common goals.”

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who sat in on the discussion between the two leaders, told reporters Friday that the agreement could be a precursor to further cooperation in Syria.

His Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, said the US and Russia had “promised to ensure that all groups there comply with the ceasefire.”

“This is our first indication of the US and Russia being able to work together in Syria,” Lavrov said.

The Russian military police – coordinating with the US and Jordan – will initially ensure security around the de-escalation zone, officials said.