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Syrian conflict: US and Russia agree peace moves

Russia and the US have agreed to coordinate air strikes against Islamist militants in Syria, part of a detailed agreement to reduce the violence there.
The plan will begin with a “cessation of hostilities” from sunset on Monday. Syrian forces will end combat missions in specified opposition-held areas.
Russia and the US will then establish a joint centre to combat jihadist groups, including so-called Islamic State (IS).
A Syrian opposition coalition has cautiously welcomed the agreement.
“We hope this will be the beginning of the end of the civilians’ ordeal,” said Bassma Kodmani, a spokeswoman for the High Negotiations Committee.
“We welcome the deal if it is going to be enforced.”
The announcement follows talks in Geneva between US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.
The plan would need both the regime and opposition “to meet their obligations”, Mr Kerry said.
The opposition had indicated it was prepared to comply with the plan, he said, provided the Syrian government “shows it is serious”.
Mr Lavrov said Russia had informed the Syrian government about the arrangements and the Syrian government was “ready to fulfil them”.

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