Syrian army declares city ceasefire as Russia, UN plan July peace talks

Since a resumption of peace negotiations previous 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.

The July negotiations, to be held in Kazakhstan's capital Astana, are expected to finalise details of so-called safe zones to be set up in Syria.

According to UN's spe-cial envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, around 400,000 people have died in the conflict while half the population has been driven from their homes.

The United States supports a 48-hour cease-fire declared by the Syrian army in southern Syria but says it will wait to see what happens before judging its effectiveness. She urged the Syrian opposition groups to halt attacks to allow humanitarian aid to reach those in need. The agreement covers four zones in Syria where the rebels are fighting pro-government forces. According to a brief statement published by state-owned Syrian Arab News Agency, the cessation of hostilities began at 12.00 pm on Saturday.

Deraa is a major front line in the conflict.

Syrian army declares 2-day combat cessation in southern city

Russian Federation will also host peace negotiations next month in Kazakhstan.

A war monitor said the level of violence had fallen three hours after the ceasefire was due to take effect, but rebels said the city was still being bombarded.

"We have not heard of any such talk and the regime is still attacking us with the same intensity", the commander said at 3:30 p.m. (1230 GMT).

The cease-fire was supposed to start at noon local time on Saturday; a human rights watchdog said violence in the area was down, but there was some bombing in the first couple of hours.

The diplomat added that the officials were exchanging viewpoints on the boundaries of a ceasefire line between the foreign-backed extremists and Syrian army soldiers, which is projected to yield a comprehensive agreement and outline the control of border crossings with Jordan.

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  • Adam Floyd