On Saturday the US and Russia announced an agreement on Syria for a 10-day truce starting at sundown on Monday – coinciding with the Islamic holiday Eid al-Adha.
But according to opposition activists, just hours after this landmark deal was reached air strikes rained down on a market in rebel-held Idlib, killing up to 60 people, while at least 45 were killed in strikes on Aleppo.
The truce will be followed a week later by a new, unexpected military partnership between the two countries targeting Isis and al Qaida, as well as placing new limits on President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
Russia and the US, two historically acrimonious countries, will embark on a campaign of co-ordinated air strikes against jihadist militants in the country.
‘Today the United States and Russia are announcing a plan which we hope will reduce violence, ease suffering and resume movement toward a negotiated peace and a political transition in Syria,’ US Secretary of State John Kerry said.
‘We are announcing an arrangement that we think has the capability of sticking, but it is dependent on people’s choices.
‘It has the ability to stick, provided the regime and the opposition both meet their obligations, which we – and we expect other supporting countries – will strongly encourage them to do.’
The Syrian government in Damascus endorsed the deal, state news agency Sana reported.
However there has been no official reaction from Iran, which – like Russia – is an ally of Assad in the raging five-year civil conflict.