The new Syrian ceasefire agreed by Russia and the United States may become a “giant step” to the political settlement in the war-torn country, Syria’s Ambassador to China and former Ambassador to the United States Imad Moustapha told Sputnik, adding that joint effort of Moscow and Washington is crucial to maintain the truce.

MOSCOW (SputniK) – On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, after talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump that Russia, the United States and Jordan had agreed on the ceasefire in southwestern Syria starting at noon on July 9.

“This [ceasefire in southwest Syria] could be a giant step forward towards a political settlement of the crisis in Syria. However, the real challenge is not in reaching such an agreement; it is in upholding and maintaining it… A joint US-Russia effort to maintain the ceasefire will be crucial for its success,” Moustapha said.

The diplomat raised doubts though if the United States could really stop its policy of supporting terrorism in Syria.

“Despite all the spurious claims by President Trump about fighting ISIL [Islamic State terrorist group, outlawed in Russia], he has actually helped ISIL when attacking Syrian army units engaged in battle against that terrorist group, or equally, against al-Nusra Front [Jabhat Fatah al Sham, banned in Russia]. However, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and see if he can turn the page and disengage his administration from the policy of supporting any terrorist group as long as it is fighting Syrian government troops,” Moustapha added.

Syria has been engulfed in a civil war for over six years with the government troops fighting against numerous opposition factions as well as terrorist groups. Russia and Iran support Syrian President Bashar Assad regarding his government as only legitimate authorities in Syria while the western countries have consistently called on him to step down.

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