Syrian cease-fire goes into effect
Beirut (AP) — Syria's army says it has begun implementing a U.S.-Russian cease-fire, but the country's most powerful insurgent groups have not yet said whether they will abide by it.
The Syrian government and its main allies, Russia and Iran, say they will abide by the week long truce, which began at 7 p.m. (1600 GMT) on Monday.
Half an hour before the truce went into effect, violence was reported in several areas throughout Syria.
The deal, announced last week by Washington and Moscow, calls for a halt to fighting between the U.S.-backed opposition and the Russian-allied Syrian government.
If the truce holds for a week, the U.S. and Russia would begin intelligence sharing and target coordination against the Islamic State group and al-Qaida-linked militants.
Russia says it will continue strikes against the Islamic State group and al-Qaida-linked militants in Syria in coordination with the U.S. military as a cease-fire brokered by Moscow and Washington goes into effect.
Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi of the Russian military's General Staff says the Russian and U.S. militaries will set up a joint executive center to coordinate the strikes.
He adds that the Russian military will use drones to monitor the observance of the cease-fire, which is set to take effect Monday at sundown.
U.S. and Russian officials announced the cease-fire early Saturday, saying they hoped it would facilitate humanitarian access to civilians.
Syrian President Bashar Assad says his government is determined to "reclaim every area from the terrorists, and to rebuild" the country. His remarks came just hours ahead of the start of a cease-fire brokered by the United States and Russia.
Assad spoke to the state news agency SANA on the streets of Daraya, a Damascus suburb that surrendered to government authority last month.
He says: "We call on all Syrians to turn toward reconciliation."
Earlier in Daraya, Assad joined the prayers for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha in a rare public appearance that sent a strong message to his opponents.
SANA says no civilians were present in the suburb, once home to nearly a quarter million people, after the last of them were evacuated as part of the surrender agreement.
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The Gayly – September 12, 2016 @ 11:30 a.m.