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US Cautious But Hopeful About New Syria Cease-fire

The United States supports a 48-hour cease-fire declared by the Syrian army in southern Syria but says it will wait to see what happens before judging its effectiveness.

"We will judge this initiative by the results, not the words," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement Saturday. "The opposition should similarly halt attacks to allow the cease-fire to endure � and hopefully be extended � and humanitarian aid to reach those in need."

Earlier in the day, the Syrian army announced the unilateral cease-fire in the southern city of Deraa in order to support "reconciliation efforts." According to a statement carried by state news agency SANA, the cease-fire was set to take effect at 12 p.m. Saturday local time.

The announcement of the cease-fire came on the same day the United Nations said it wanted to start new peace talks involving all sides in Syria next month in Geneva.

The United States and Russia have also been holding talks on creating safe zones in Syria, which would include Deraa and several other cities.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said fighting and shelling in Deraa fell off slightly after the announcement of the cease-fire, but a rebel leader told the Reuters news agency there had been no change in the pace of the fight.

"We have not heard of any such talk, and the regime is still attacking us with the same intensity," the commander, who was not named, told Reuters.

Source: Voice of America