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  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura (L-R), Germany, Feb 12, 2016

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura (L-R), Germany, Feb 12, 2016 | Photo: Reuters

Published 11 February 2016

The major powers involved in the Syrian conflict agreed on a cease-fire in Syria within a week that would exclude the Islamic State group and Nusra Front.

The United States and Russia agreed on a cease-fire in Syria “within a week” as well as expanding humanitarian aid to Syrians on the ground, the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday night after a meeting that included Russia, the U.S. and dozen of other countries in Munich.

Kerry said all participants had agreed that Syrian peace negotiations should resume in Geneva as soon as possible and that a cessation of hostilities would be implemented within a week excluding operations against the extremist militant groups such as the Islamic State group and Nusra Front.

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Kerry made the comments in a press conference alongside his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov and Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria. But, he admitted the cease-fire plan was "ambitious" as it would depend on the warring parties honoring the commitments.

"What we have here are words on paper, what we need to see in the next few days are actions on the ground," he said. According to the top diplomats, a United Nations task force will be set up to ensure humanitarian access is granted to all sides.

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Meanwhile, Lavrov said there were "reasons to hope we have done a great job today," adding that talk about the need to prepare ground troops for an invasion of Syria will only add fire to the conflict referring to comments by Saudi Arabia confirming that it was ready to send troops into Syria.

“We noted that the talks must resume as soon as possible in strict compliance with U.N. Security Council Resolution 2254, without any ultimatums or preconditions,” he said.

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A new report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research released Thursday says 11.5 percent of Syria's 22.5 million population has been killed or injured since the beginning of the conflict in 2011. Almost 500,000 people have been killed, doubling previous estimates.

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