Partial 48-hour ceasefire announced in Syrian city

Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said they would abide by a 48-hour ceasefire in the southern city of Daraa. Handout photo courtesy SANA via EPA

June 18 (UPI) — The Syrian army declared a two-day ceasefire in the southern city of Daraa beginning Saturday as part of “local reconciliations” in the nation’s six-year civil war, state-run media reported.

In a statement posted online and reported by the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency, the army, under the command of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, stopped combat operations in the area at noon local time Saturday for a period of 48 hours.

“The Syrian government is keen on consolidating local reconciliations in parallel with army’s operations to eradicate takfiri terrorism and restore security and stability to all Syrian territories,” the army said, using the Arabic word for Muslim terrorists who target other Muslims.

The multilateral conflict includes Alawite Muslims loyal to Assad and an array of other sects, including the Islamic State.

The U.S. State Department released a statement in response to the ceasefire, welcoming a reduction in hostilities but promising Assad’s regime would be judged “by the results not the words.”

“The United States will continue to support constructive efforts to de-escalate the violence in Syria and ensure humanitarian aid reaches those in need,” the statement reads.

The department also called to forces opposing Assad to abide by the 48-hour ceasefire.

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