The Syrian government and key opposition groups have agreed to a temporary truce aimed at bringing peace to the war-torn country, The Associated Press
and other outlets report. The government, however, says it will continue its operations against the Islamic State group and al-Qaida factions there. The agreement comes on the heels of a cease-fire announced by Russia and the United States. The cease-fire will take effect Saturday. Many questions remain
about how effective the deal will be in stemming the violence that has killed hundreds of thousands and forced millions more from their homes. Update: February 11, 7:45
p.m.:A ceasefire agreement in the Syrian civil war conflict has been reached, the BBC reports
. At the diplomatic talks in Munich, Germany today, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivered the pronouncement alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura.
While this ceasefire excludes efforts to combat Islamic State (IS) and al-Nusra Front — military efforts against those groups "will continue," according to Kerry — the deal, hatched late in the hour, will extend a great deal of much-needed humanitarian aid to the region. Kerry added a United Nations task force will ensure equal distribution of humanitarian aid in the region.
Original story, published at 6 p.m. on February 4, follows.
Five years. That's how long it's been since 2011's pro-democracy protests in Syria escalated into a chaotic civil war. In the meantime, millions of Syrians have fled their homes, seeking safety abroad, and contributing to the worst international refugee crisis
since World War II.
The nation's conflict — originally a struggle between President Bashar al-Assad's Syrian Armed Forces and competing networks of rebel fighters — has grown into a tangled web of global powers, all vying for different outcomes. There are Russian fighter jets, ISIS fighters, and al-Qaida affiliates. World powers like Britain, Qatar, the United States, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia have a stake, too. Some are determined to destroy ISIS, others are there to back Assad.
How will it all end? While peace talks stalled in Geneva after just two days
, and are now scheduled to start again on February 25th, Refinery29 has rounded up what world leaders are saying about the crisis in Syria — and how we can restore peace to the region.