Syria ceasefire needs 'major change of behaviour': UK

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London, Feb 23: The Syrian ceasefire announced by the United States and Russia will only work if there is a "major change of behaviour" by the Syrian regime and Russia, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has said.

"It will only succeed if there is a major change of behaviour by the Syrian regime and its backers," he said yesterday. "Russia, in particular, must honour this agreement by ending its attacks on Syrian civilians and moderate opposition groups."

The United States and Russia announced the "cessation of hostilities" yesterday, indicating it would come into effect on Saturday 27.

It excludes militants from the Islamic State, Nusra Front and other groups the United Nations Security Council deems terrorist entities. Hammond welcomed the deal but said Russia needs to demonstrate its compliance "by clearly only targeting Daesh (IS) and those recognised as terrorists by the international community."

He added that the deal was an "important step towards reducing the horrendous levels of violence in Syria." Hammond said he hoped a ceasefire would enable political negotiations "to re-start in earnest" and deliver a political transition "away from Assad, to a government in Damascus that can represent all Syrians." 

AFP

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