Syria ceasefire 'largely holding' but violations: US
The two-week-old cessation of hostilities in Syria is "largely holding," albeit with continued violations that include government attacks on civilians and opposition forces, the United States said Friday (Mar 11). "The cessation of hostilities has produced a dramatic reduction in violence in Syria and permitted humanitarian access to begin in some besieged areas," said State Department spokesman John Kirby in a statement. However, Kirby also sounded a note of caution and said that the conflict, in which more than 270,000 people have been killed since it broke out in March 2011, had reached "a critical moment." [...] The US- and Russian-sponsored ceasefire began Feb 27. The UN is hoping to restart peace talks that collapsed last month, building on the ceasefire that has led to the first significant decline in violence in Syria's nearly five-year civil war. A new round of talks aimed at ending the war in Syria will begin in Geneva on March 14 and will last no longer than 10 days, the UN mediator has said..