President Donalr Trump met Lavrov and Putin about piece in Syria( Photo: Associated Press)

BEIRUT (AP) — U.S. President Donald Trump called for expanded cooperation with Russia on Sunday, as a cease-fire brokered by the two powers and Jordan for southern Syria came into effect. The cease-fire covering three war-torn provinces in southern Syria is the first tangible outcome following months of strategy and diplomacy between the new Trump administration and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Moscow.

Separate Syria Meeting

President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit, in Hamburg. A separate US-Russia-brokered truce for southern Syria, brokered by the U.S. and Russia, is meant to help allay growing concerns by neighboring Jordan and Israel about Iranian military ambitions in the area. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is at left, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is at right.

Will Save Lives

Trump tweeted that the cease-fire, which came into effect at noon Sunday, «will save lives.» «Now it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia!» he posted on Twitter shortly after the agreement came into effect. A resident and local opposition activist in Daraa, near the Jordanian border, reported an uneasy calm hours into the truce. «There’s still a lot of anxiety,» said Ahmad al-Masalmeh. «We’ve entered the cease-fire but there are no mechanisms to enforce it. That’s what concerns people.» Six years of fighting and siege have devastated Daraa, one of the first cities to see large protests against President Bashar Assad in 2011. It remains contested by U.S.-backed rebels and Syrian government forces supported by Russia and Iran. Large swaths of the city have been reduced to rubble by government artillery and Russian air power.

IS Out of Mosul

The truce also covers the Quneitra and Sweida provinces, where the government and the rebels are also fighting Islamic State militants, who are not included in the agreement. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict through a network of on-the-ground activists, reported calm across the three provinces as dusk fell Sunday.The Trump administration also ordered airstrikes against the Syrian government and Iranian-backed militias, in a break with Obama administration policy. The strikes, including one on a government air base in central Syria, drew only muted responses from Moscow.

No long cease-fire

No cease-fire has lasted long in the six-year-old Syrian war, and no mechanisms have been publicly set out to monitor or enforce this latest endeavor. It was announced Thursday on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Hamburg after a meeting between Trump, Putin and their top diplomats.The Syrian government maintains it is fighting a war against terrorist groups. The Al-Qaida-linked Levant Liberation Committee is one of the most effective factions fighting alongside rebels in Daraa, reports Associated Press.

President Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump met in Hamburg( Photo: Associated Press)

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