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US, Russia extend Syria truce by 48 hours

dpadpa 14/09/2016

The US and Russia have agreed to extend the Syrian ceasefire by 48 hours.

The United States and Russia have ageed to extend the current ceasefire in the Syria conflict by 48 hours, while much-needed aid continues to remain undistributed.

US Secretary of State John Kerry Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov agreed on the extension in a telephone call, Kerry's spokesman Mark Toner said on Wednesday.

He said the ceasefire appeared to be holding despite numerous breaches.

Earlier, a monitoring group said that the truce, which went into effect on Monday night, was "positive."

"The ceasefire is being implemented very well, despite some breaches. So far it has been persevering and protecting the Syrian people who have been paying a high price," said Rami Adbulrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Observatory said late on Wednesday that "it did not register any death of a civilian, rebel fighter, regime soldier or their allies in the areas where the ceasefire was being implemented in the past 48."

Russian General Viktor Poznikhir said the ceasefire, which does not include UN-designated terrorist groups, was violated about 60 times in the past two days, but Russia was still keen to continue it, according to comments carried by state news agency TASS.

Despite the relative calm in the war-torn country, disputes among the warring parties are delaying deliveries of aid. Some 600,000 Syrians are living in areas under siege or which are hard to reach, according to the United Nations.

According to activists inside a rebel-held area east of Aleppo, calm is prevailing but people are waiting for aid agencies to be allowed access.

"People are anxiously waiting for food and medical aid to enter Aleppo," Omar al Arab, an activist based in eastern Aleppo told dpa.

Between 250,000 and 275,000 people in east Aleppo have been cut off from assistance since early July, according to the UN.

UN officials said they were still awaiting "a green light" to move.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said 20 truckloads were ready and were supposed to be delivered on Wednesday.

"But, unfortunately, because of all these arrangements for making sure the security and safety of the people - humanitarian workers, including drivers - have not been made yet ... they are now at the border of Syria," he said.

He said it was "crucially important" that the necessary security arrangements be made so that the trucks can be allowed to cross the lines.

"A lot of people are dying from poverty and disease and because of lack of sanitary support," he said.

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