All eyes on Syria as ceasefire deadline looms

Syrian government troops cross a bridge on the eastern outskirts of the northern city of Aleppo after they re-took the area from Islamic State (IS) group fightersUS President Barack Obama has warned Moscow and Damascus the “world will be watching” their commitment to a looming ceasefire, as the 17-nation group backing the Syria peace process prepared to fine-tune the deal. Obama said the next few days would be critical for the partial truce brokered by Moscow and Washington — due to begin at midnight Friday — which has been agreed by both President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and Syria’s top opposition grouping. The deal — which excludes the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group and other extremists — marks the biggest diplomatic push yet to help end Syria’s violence, but has been plagued by doubts after the failure of previous peace efforts.

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