Israel, Russia and Iran agree on a ceasefire in Syria
Israel and Russia have reached a deal on a cease-fire in Syria, the Israeli government said on Sunday, marking a major step towards a political solution to the war in the war-torn country.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a statement, said Israel and the United States had reached a political understanding on a truce in Syria that would see the withdrawal of all forces from the country.
The announcement came hours after the two sides announced the signing of a joint statement outlining their positions on Syria.
Netanyahu said the ceasefire would take effect on Sunday and would be the “last major step” toward a political transition in Syria.
Israel and Russia agreed to extend the cease-fires to include the area surrounding the Turkish border.
In the statement, the two countries called for the removal of the “armed terrorist organizations” from Syria, as well as for the “return of the refugees” to their homes.
The statement also noted the need to protect Syrian civilians, who it said “have been systematically targeted by the armed terrorist organizations and their allies, including by the Russian Federation.”
“The cease-firing agreement will take effect immediately,” the statement said.
Israel, which is fighting a two-year-long conflict with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants in Syria’s south and east, has been trying to build a political consensus in Syria in the face of opposition from the powerful Russian and Syrian governments.
Moscow has supported Assad, while the United Sates and Turkey support his opponents, while Washington and other countries back his foes.
The war has killed more than 250,000 people, displaced millions and led to millions more refugees, many of them displaced by the conflict.
More than 2.4 million Syrians have been displaced from their homes since the conflict began in March 2011.