US and Russia agree to extend cessation in Syria for another 48 hours


US State Department spokesman Mark Toner has announced that Russia and the US have agreed to extend the cessation of hostilities in Syria for another 48 hours.

Agreed between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the extension comes as the ceasefire appeared to be holding into its second day.

At a press briefing, Toner said: “And I think there was agreement between the two of them that as a whole, despite sporadic reports of violence, as a whole the arrangement is holding and violence is, I’d say, significantly lower in comparison to previous days and weeks.”  

"As a whole the arrangement is holding and violence is, I’d say, significantly lower in comparison to previous days and weeks."

The United Nations has called on all parties to guarantee the security of a humanitarian aid convoy.

Toner added: “We’re continuing to talk to the Russians, assess it. We need to see much more in the terms of humanitarian assistance; we’re not there yet.”

When asked about Russians complaining that the opposition is not respecting the cessation of hostilities, Toner said: “We’ve seen violations by both sides. I’m not going to attach a number to each side, but we’ve seen violations by both sides.”

Last week, the US and Russia announced a plan for a cessation of hostilities in Syria, which took effect on 12 September.

UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it recorded no civilian deaths during the first 15 hours of the cease-fire.