U.S. President Barack Obama has warned Russia that the "world will be watching" whether it complies with an agreed cessation of hostilities in Syria due to begin on February 27.
"The coming days will be critical and the world will be watching" whether the truce is honored by Russia and its allies in Syria, Obama said after meeting with his national security advisers on February 25.
He called the truce a "test" of whether Russia and the Syrian regime are committed to a broader political resolution of the five-year civil war.
A campaign this month by Syrian government forces, backed by Russian air strikes, to encircle the rebel-held city of Aleppo snuffed out a previous effort at a truce and led to the suspension of the broader peace negotiations.
The United Nations Security Council is expected to approve a resolution endorsing the truce drafted by the United States and Russia in a session on February 26.
Obama said he expects some fighting to continue in Syria because the Islamic State (IS) group and Al-Qaeda-affiliate the Al-Nusra Front are exempted from the truce.
He said he directed the U.S. military to continue "relentless" efforts to destroy IS "on all fronts," including Libya, where IS has been gaining ground.
Obama noted that a successful campaign against IS in Iraq has taken back nearly half the ground IS once held.
Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and AFP