U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin laid the foundation for de-escalation and a ceasefire in the southwest region of Syria at this week’s G20 meeting, with expressed interest in further cooperation in dealing with Syria’s civil war in the coming future.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed to reporters that the two leaders established a de-escalation zone during the meeting, which Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov later defined to be in the regions of Daara, Quneitra and Suwayda in southwest Syria, according to CNN:
A ceasefire will come into effect in this de-escalation zone starting at noon Damascus time on July 9.
The US and Russia “promised to ensure that all groups there comply with the ceasefire” and “provide humanitarian access” Lavrov said. Russian military police — coordinating with the US and Jordan — will initially ensure security around the de-escalation zone.
A State Department official said Friday that they’re still working on how they’re going to monitor and enforce the ceasefire.
Tillerson also discussed the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with reporters, claiming that there would be a transition of power away from the Assad family eventually, but there is still no indication of when or how, or who, all of which would likely be determined after the defeat of ISIS in the region.
On Syria’s western border, reports have indicated that Iraqi forces are close to defeating ISIS in the Iraqi city of Mosul, but Iraq’s military isn’t claiming victory for now, according to W.G. Dunlop of the Associated Foreign Press:
Brig. Gen. Andrew Croft told the Air Force Times that the battle for Mosul should “end predictably” in the next few days.
Meanwhile, Syrian Democratic Forces, backed by the U.S., have begun an assault on the Syrian city of Raqqa in an effort to liberate what ISIS has declared its capitol. The siege could last months, and if successful, decisions on what to do with the current Syrian regime, and the U.S. and Russia’s involvement in Syria, will have to be reconsidered and defined.