Syrian army declares 48-hour cease-fire in Daraa city
The Syrian army said it would suspend combat operations in the southern city of Deraa for 48 hours from Saturday, as mediators announced two separate attempts to convene new peace talks next month, APA reports quoting Reuters.
The Syrian army general command said a ceasefire at noon (0900 GMT) on Saturday was being implemented to support "reconciliation efforts", according to a statement carried by state news agency SANA.
The announcement came on the same day as the United Nations said it wanted to start a fresh round of peace talks between Syrian factions on July 10 in Geneva, and Moscow said it hoped to hold talks in Kazakhstan's capital Astana on July 4-5.
Since a resumption of peace negotiations last year, there have been multiple rounds brokered by the United Nations in Geneva between representatives of Syrian rebels and the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, resulting in scant progress.
Another track of talks brokered by Russia - a key Assad ally - has also been happening in Astana, Kazakhstan, since January.
In an emailed statement the office of United Nations special mediator for Syria Staffan de Mistura said he wished to convene a seventh round of Geneva talks in July and further rounds in August and September.
The United States welcomed the ceasefire announcement and called on the Syrian government to live up to its ceasefire commitments.
"We will judge this initiative by the results not the words," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. She urged the Syrian opposition groups to halt attacks to allow humanitarian aid to reach those in need.
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