The International Rescue Committee welcomes the news of the nationwide ceasefire in Syria agreed between the United States and Russia. We hope it will bring an end to the indiscriminate air attacks, barrel bombs, and fighting that have killed nearly 400,000 people and displaced half the population of the country.

But it will be deeds, not words, that will determine if this ceasefire is a turning point in the war. The defining characteristic of the Syrian conflict has been the targeting of civilians, with more than 750 medical workers killed, 19 UN-designated areas under siege, food and medicine used as weapons of war, and civilian infrastructure destroyed. 

The nationwide ceasefire must allow lifesaving aid to finally reach the over 600,000 people trapped in besieged areas, and provide the space to resume regular deliveries of humanitarian assistance to the over 13.5 million people in need of aid inside Syria, including 6 million children."