The newly reached agreement on de-escalation zones in southwest Syria represent a significant step toward diffusing violence and increasing humanitarian access, UN Secretary-General spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement on Monday.

On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced a ceasefire in southwest Syria reached by Russia, the United States and Jordan, which came into effect at noon on Sunday.

“This is a significant step towards reducing violence and increasing humanitarian access across Syria, in line with the pursuit of the goal of a comprehensive, nationwide ceasefire, as endorsed by multiple Security Council resolutions,” Dujarric said.

Guterres urged all countries to “preserve the right for all Syrians to seek asylum and enjoy refugee protection” until conditions allow for civilians to return to their country.

Immediately after the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his counterpart Donald Trump on July 7, Lavrov said that the experts from Russia, the United States and Jordan had agreed on a memorandum on the establishment of a de-escalation zone. It covers Daraa, Quneitra and As-Suwayda provinces in southwestern Syria.

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