U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other world leaders have announced they’ve made progress toward a “cessation of hostilities” in the ongoing conflict in Syria. The announcement comes amid a two-day meeting in Munich of the International Syria Support Group, whose members include the United States, the European Union, the Arab League, China, Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other world powers. The meeting does not include the Assad government or any of the Syrian opposition groups. A different set of U.N.-hosted peace talks that included the Assad government and various members of the opposition fell apart last week. During the meeting in Munich, world leaders agreed to work to ease the fighting within one week and to allow humanitarian aid to reach besieged areas. Syrian opposition spokesperson Salim al-Muslat welcomed the announcement.
Salim al-Muslat: “We welcome the effort that our friends are making to relieve the Syrian people. It must be for all Syrians, We must see action on the ground. Once we see implementation, we will be ready for the political process.”
The meeting in Munich comes as intense fighting continues in the northeast city of Aleppo. The Assad government, backed by Russian airstrikes, has been carrying out an offensive on Aleppo, forcing tens of thousands of Syrians to flee to the border with Turkey. On Thursday, the Russian defense minister accused the U.S.-led coalition of also launching airstrikes on Aleppo on this week. U.S. officials deny the allegations.