Syria's President Bashar Assad attends an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais in Damascus, in this handout picture provided by SANA on Feb. 20, 2016. REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters
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Syria's government agreed Tuesday to a ceasefire deal announced by the United States and Russia, but there were widespread doubts it could take effect by the weekend as hoped.The truce agreement, announced Monday, does not apply to extremists like ISIS and the Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, putting up major hurdles to how it can be implemented on Syria's complex battlefield. A Syrian foreign ministry statement said the government would continue to fight both those groups as well as other "terrorists," while agreeing to stop other military operations "in accordance with the Russian-American announcement". The High Negotiations Committee (HNC) – the leading Syrian opposition group – gave its conditional acceptance to the deal late Monday.Both powers are pursuing separate air wars in Syria, with a U.S.-led coalition targeting ISIS and occasionally other jihadist groups.Sunday saw the deadliest extremist attack in Syria's conflict, when 134 people were killed in a Shiite Muslim shrine south of Damascus in bombings claimed by ISIS.
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