Syrian civil war cease-fire to begin midnight Friday

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |   Feb. 22, 2016 at 11:44 AM
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DAMASCUS, Syria, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- A cease-fire in the Syrian civil war between the government and rebels that was brokered by the United States and Russia is scheduled to begin midnight Friday.

The cease-fire will come into effect at midnight on Friday, according to a draft of the "provisional agreement" announced Sunday by U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Before the cease-fire could come into effect, Russia needed to get Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to agree to conditions. The announcement came as nearly 140 people were killed in bombings in Homs and Damascus.

The "path to peace" in Syria is "actually right in front of us now," Kerry said in a short news conference following the announcement.

Syria has been blighted by a complex civil war in which the Islamic State, the Syrian government and multiple Syrian rebel groups fight for control of territory. The upcoming cease-fire agreement does not include the Islamic State.

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