Syrian ceasefire due Saturday "a long-awaited signal of hope": UN chief

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Heavily damaged buildings in Homs, Syria. Photo: UNICEF/Juliette Touma

A tentative ceasefire finally due to come into effect on Saturday between the warring parties in Syria is a "long-awaited signal of hope" for civilians there.

That's the view of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, responding to the announcement on Monday from the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), that terms had been agreed for a nationwide ceasefire.

Matthew Wells reports.

Syria is entering a sixth year of bloody conflict with more than ten million displaced and well over 250,000 dead.

The ISSG, chaired by US Secretary of State John Kerry, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, has been engaged in detailed discussions for months, on getting the warring parties to agree ceasefire terms.

Mr Ban, according to a statement from his spokesperson, stressed that it was the Syrian people who needed to be at the forefront of everyone's calculations, so that after five years of fighting "there may be an end to their suffering in sight."

Through Security Council resolutions and the shuttle diplomacy of the UN's Special Envoy for Syria, the world body stood ready to support a durable ceasefire said Mr Ban, emphasizing that "much work now lies ahead."

The urgent need for a ceasefire was underlined by multiple bombings in Damascus and Homs over the weekend, which killed at least 155 people.

The UN chief condemned the "atrocious and deliberate" attacks, claimed by the ISIL terrorist group.

ISIL together with the Al-Nusra Front terrorist group, active in Syria, are not included in the terms of the ceasefire.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1’02″

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