U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced on Friday a plan to allow the delivery of aid to besieged Syrian towns and a"cessation of hostilities" (FT) to begin within a week. The United States and Russia willco-chair (AP) a new working group on humanitarian aid in Syria and a cease-fire task force under the auspices of the UN. The agreement outlined a tem partial pause (NYT)in the conflict, but not a formal cease-fire, and failed to end Russian air strikes. Separately, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned (Al Jazeera) that the deployment for foreign troops to Syria could lead to world war.
"The international community should think seriously about how the war is changing the face of Syria, and what this means for the world. If the conflict continues as it is today – and it is far from certain that the Munich agreement can be implemented – Syria will head to a future of extremism and long-term unrest that will have global repercussions," writes Lina Khatib in the Guardian.
"Russia's intervention in Syria should not be viewed in isolation. The capture of Aleppo means that Moscow will have many more bargaining chips when it comes to dealing with the West over issues such as Ukraine or Georgia. For the Kremlin, pressing issues such as ending the economic sanctions over Ukraine, getting the West to turn a blind eye to the annexation of Crimea, or stopping NATO bases in Eastern Europe can be directly linked to a ceasefire in Syria," writes Luke Coffey in Al Jazeera.
"[The fall of Aleppo] would be a tremendous loss for the U.S. and its traditional allies: Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan. It’s already been extremely costly for most of those allies, but it would be a defeat [in the face of] the Russian-Iranian intervention in Syria. This would also be a huge loss for the United States vis-à-vis Russia in its Middle East policy, certainly. And because of the flow of refugees as a result of this, if they go northward to Europe, then you would see a migrant crisis in Europe that could lead to far-right governments coming to power which are much more friendly to Russia than they are to the United States," says Andrew Tabler in an interview with the Atlantic.
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