DAMASCUS, Syria, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- The Syrian government under President Bashar al-Assad and the consolidated Syrian rebel group have accepted the terms that will implement a cease-fire midnight Friday.
Assad's regime said it would cease "combat operations" as part of the cease-fire plan, which was brokered by the United States and Russia. The High Negotiation Committee, which represents most rebel groups, said the government needed to end sieges and airstrikes on civilians for the cease-fire to be accepted.
Both warring parties will need to formally indicate by 5 a.m. ET on Friday whether they will comply with the cessation of hostilities. The United Nations said enforcing the cease-fire on the ground could be challenging.
In a statement, HNC coordinator Riad Hijab said he "does not expect the Assad regime, Russia and Iran to cease hostilities due to their realization that the regime's survival depends on the continuation of its campaign of oppression killing and forced displacement."
The Islamic State, also known as ISIS, Daesh and ISIL, and the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front were not included in the cease-fire agreement.
The Syrian government said it would halt combat "on the basis of continuing military efforts to combat terrorism against Daesh, al-Nusra Front, and the other organizations linked to it and al-Qaida."
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. In the nearly five-year war, more than 250,000 people have died and 11 million have been forced to flee their homes either internally or abroad.