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UN Security Council draft resolution on Syria says hostilities must be stopped Feb 27

The draft resolution that is expected to be approved on Friday afternoon also calls on all parties in the conflict to grant access to aid workers to ease the country's worsening humanitarian crisis

UNITED NATIONS, February 26. /TASS/. The US-Russian draft UN Security Council resolution on Syria requires the cessation of hostilities there at midnight on February 27, Damascus time (01:00, Moscow time), as well as commits to paper the statements of the Syrian government army and the opposition groups on their commitment to this agreement.

The two-page document, a copy of which was received by TASS on Thursday, says that the Syrian army and opposition groups have notified Russia and the United States of accepting the terms of the cessation of hostilities and adherence to them.

According to the draft document, the US-Russian statement on a ceasefire in Syria adopted on Monday, as well as a list of groups to which this regime is applied will be attached to it at the moment of the document’s adoption. The draft also "urges all Member States, especially ISSG (International Syria Support Group) members, to use their influence with the parties to the cessation of hostilities to ensure fulfillment of those commitments and to support efforts to create conditions for a durable and lasting ceasefire."

The draft resolution that is expected to be approved on Friday afternoon also calls on all parties in the conflict to grant access to aid workers to ease the country's worsening humanitarian crisis and reiterates the council's support for the UN-brokered peace talks between the government and opposition. One of the main purposes of the cessation of hostilities is to allow aid to reach civilians, especially in besieged areas cut off from supplies. The resolution calls for a resumption of peace talks "as soon as possible and ... urges the representatives of the Syrian government and the Syrian opposition to engage in good faith in these negotiations."

UN Security Council President Rafael Ramirez of Venezuela confirmed to reporters earlier that the draft resolution was distributed among the Security Council members. He said the Council received from the Russian and US delegations the draft resolution in support of the (Syrian) political process and ceasefire. According to Ramirez, the UN Security Council members need time to study the document, but they hope to adopt it as soon as possible - before Saturday in order to support the agreed ceasefire.

On Monday night, Russia and the United States released a joint statement saying that the ceasefire will take effect in Syria at 00:00 Damascus Time on February 27. "The United States of America and the Russian Federation, as co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) and seeking to achieve a peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis with full respect for the fundamental role of the United Nations, are fully determined to provide their strongest support to end the Syrian conflict and establish conditions for a successful Syrian-led political transition process, facilitated by the UN," the joint statement of the United States and Russia said.

The statement points out that the cessation of hostilities is to be applied to all parties to the Syrian conflict but for Daesh (the Arabic acronym for Islamic State) and Jabhat an-Nusra (both are banned in Russia) "or other terrorist organizations designated by the UN Security Council."

Russia’s aviation grouping has been delivering air strikes against the Islamic State terrorist organization in Syria since September 30 at the request of Syria’s President Bashar Assad. Since 2014, the US-led coalition has also been delivering air strikes against militants in Syria and Iraq.

A diplomat of a UN Security Council member state told TASS that the resolution could be adopted at the Council’s meeting at 23:00, Moscow time, Friday. During the closed-door part of the meeting UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura will address the Un Security Council members with a report on efforts aimed at the conflict settlement. De Mistura will describe the entire political process. The United States, Russia and the conflict sides have agreed to cease fire. Negotiations are to be resumed after that.