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MOSCOW, February 23. /TASS/. Presidents of the United States and Russia - Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama - have reached an agreement on the cessation of hostilities in Syria, which is due to come into force at midnight on February 27 after all the parties to the conflict will sign up to it, Putin said in a statement placed on the Kremlin website.
"I have just had a telephone conversation with U.S. President Barack Obama," Putin said. "The Russian side initiated the talk but the interest was mutual without doubt. During the talk we approved the joint statements of Russia and the United States, as (the co-chairs of) the International Syria Support Group, on the cessation of hostilities in that country."
"I am convinced that joint efforts agreed with the U.S. (to ensure the cessation of hostilities - eds. TASS) are capable of turning the tide most radically in settlement of the Syria crisis," Putin said.
"At last, there appeared a real chance to stop the longstanding bloodshed and violence," he said adding that it would create conditions for "the launch of a real political process in the format of a broad intra-Syrian dialogue in Geneva under the auspices of the UN."
Besides, the Russian president said that the accords should result in "easing the humanitarian access to all Syrians in need."
Putin said that intensive work of Russian and American experts had laid a foundation under the deal. Moreover, "positive experience has been used accumulated in the joint efforts aimed at destroying chemical weapons in Syria."
After several rounds of consultations held behind closed doors it has been possible to reach "a significant concrete result," he said.
"The agreement has been reached that fighting will end in Syria at midnight Damascus time on February 27, 2016, under the conditions constituting an integral part of the joint statement of Russia and the U.S.," the Russian president said.
In particular, he said "by noon February 26 all the warring sides in Syria need to confirm to us or to our American partners their adherence to the ceasefire," he said.
Later on, "Russian and U.S. military will designate the areas where these groups operate," he said. And they will not be targeted by the Syrian Armed Forces, Russian air strikes and the U.S.-led coalition.
"In their turn, opposition forces will terminate combat activities against the Armed Forces of the Syrian Arab Republic and the groups supporting them," the head of state said.
Strikes on the Islamic State and other terrorist groups in Syria will be continued after the agreement on the cessation of hostilities comes into force, Putin is confident.
"As for the ISIL (the Islamic State terrorist group outlawed in Russia - eds. TASS), Jabhat an-Nusra and other terrorist organizations designated as such by the UN Security Council, they are totally excluded from the regime of the cessation of hostilities," Putin said in comments on the ceasefire due to come into force in Syria at midnight on February 27.
"Strikes will be delivered on them further on," he said.
"I would like to hope that the Syrian government and all our partners in the region and beyond will support the algorithm of actions chosen by Russia and the United States," Putin said.
A deal reached by Russia and the United States to end fighting in Syria may become exemplary of the world community’s responsible actions in the fight against terrorism, Putin said, mentioning the crises in Somalia, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, when "unilateral actions, without the UN approval, in favor of political or momentary advantages led to dramatic consequences."
"Against this background, the accords of Russia and the United States to cease hostilities in Syria, their mutual implementation in coordination with all the member countries comprising the International Syria Support Group may become an example of the world community’s responsible actions based on the norms of international law and the UN principles and counteracting the threat of terrorism," he said.
According to the UN statistics data, the fighting between Syrian governmental troops and militants has killed over 220,000 people and displaced millions since its start in 2011. Gangs of militants making part of various armed formations, the most active of them being the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations (outlawed in Russia), fight against the governmental troops.