Syrian government accepts Russia-US ceasefire deal

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has accepted a ceasefire deal agreed by Russia and the United States that is set to begin later this week, the state-run SANA news agency reported Tuesday.

The agreement, which does not apply to Islamic State and other UN-designated terrorist groups, would begin at midnight local time Saturday (2200 GMT Friday), according to the State Department.

Al-Assad also excluded "terrorist" groups, including the al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra Front, saying they are not parties.

The Syrian opposition has been more cautious. The Higher Negotiations Committee of rebel and opposition groups said its agreement is conditional on there being international guarantees that Russian and Iranian forces will respect the truce.

The opposition also demanded the implementation of humanitarian measures including an end to sieges, artillery shelling and air raids.

As part of the agreement between Moscow, which backs al-Assad, and Washington, which believes the Syrian president has lost the legitimacy to rule, the warring factions must indicate their willingness to abide by the ceasefire agreement by noon Friday.

The US acknowledged implementation will be difficult. "We know that there are a lot of obstacles, and there are sure to be some setbacks," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

Last update: Tue, 23/02/2016 - 11:54

More from World

Islamic State storms strategic western town in Iraq counter-attack

Islamic State militants on Sunday seized parts of a strategic western town in Iraq in an apparent response to an...

Trump campaign: "We are behind"

Donald Trump's campaign manager admitted Sunday that the Republican presidential candidate is lagging behind...

Naked Trump sculpture fetches nearly 22,000 dollars at auction

A life-size street art sculpture depicting a fully naked Donald Trump has sold at auction for approximately 22,000...

Cameroon rescuers find more bodies after train crash

Two days after the derailment of a passenger train claimed more than 70 lives in Cameroon, rescuers were searching...

Journalists arrested in Burundi not from BBC, broadcaster says

Two journalists who were arrested in Burundi were "not on assignment" for the BBC, the British broadcaster told dpa...