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U.S., Russia announce terms for Syria ceasefire to start Saturday


WASHINGTON/BEIRUT (Reuters) - The United States and Russia announced plans for a "cessation of hostilities" in Syria that would take effect on Saturday but exclude groups such as Islamic State and al Qaeda's Nusra Front, a loophole Syrian rebels immediately highlighted as a problem.

Monday's agreement, described by a U.N. spokesman as "a first step towards a more durable ceasefire," is the fruit of intensive diplomacy between Washington and Moscow, which back opposing sides in the 5-year-old civil war that has killed more than 250,000 people.

   

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