Syria ceasefire comes into effect today

Smoke rises from buildings following a reported air strike on the rebel-held town of Ayn Tarma, in Syria's eastern Ghouta area. — AFP

HAMBURG, Germany — The Syria ceasefire that the United States and Russia have agreed upon goes into effect Sunday at noon Damascus time, according to US officials.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the ceasefire in southwest Syria is designed to reduce violence in an area near Jordan's border that is critical to that US ally's security.He said the agreement with Russia on a ceasefire in Syria is "our first indication of the US and Russia being able to work together" there.

Tillerson discussed the nearly 2½-hour meeting Friday between Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, saying they talked about the current nature of relations between the two countries as well as the future of that relationship.

The area covered by the ceasefire affects Jordan's security and what Tillerson calls a very complicated part of the Syrian battlefield.

Russia's foreign minister said his country's military police will monitor a ceasefire in southwestern Syria.

Sergey Lavrov spoke to reporters after talks between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. Lavrov, described the nearly 2½ hours talks as "very constructive." He said they touched on cybersecurity, Ukraine, North Korea and other issues.

Lavrov said Trump has accepted Putin's assurances that Moscow hasn't meddled in the US presidential election. The two leaders agreed to set up a working group on cybersecurity.

Under the ceasefire deal brokered by Russia, the US and Jordan, Moscow and Washington will ensure the cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access beginning Sunday.

A monitoring center for the deal will be set up in Jordan, and the Russian military police will ensure its implementation.

A separate deal to create "de-escalation zones" was brokered Russia, Turkey and Iran, but not the US. Follow-up talks this week in Kazakhstan to finalize a ceasefire in those zones failed to reach a deal. — Agencies