AN open-ended ceasefire brokered by the United States and Russia has come into effect in southern Syria. Announced after a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin in Hamburg last week, is the first attempt by the Trump administration in collaboration with Russia to bring some stability to the war-torn country.

US-backed rebels, Syrian government forces and Daesh militants are all fighting for control of southern Syria. The latest truce is intended to allay concerns of neighbouring Israel and Jordan about Iranian-backed and government-allied forces at their borders. The truce does not include Daesh.

Israel said it would welcome a “genuine” ceasefire in southern Syria, as long as it does not enable an Iranian military presence along Israel’s border.

Israel has repeatedly said it will not allow Iran, a close ally of the Syrian government, to set up a permanent presence in Syria. It has carried out a number of airstrikes against suspected shipments of “game-changing” weapons bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The ceasefire followed weeks of secretive talks in Jordan’s capital, Amman, about the build-up of Iranian-backed forces, in support of the Syrian government, near the Jordanian and Israeli borders.

A resident and local opposition activist in Daraa, near the Jordanian border, reported calm in the opening minutes of the truce. “There’s still a lot of anxiety,” Ahmad al-Masalmeh said. “We’ve entered the ceasefire but there are no mechanisms to enforce it. That’s what concerns people.”

Six years of fighting and siege have devastated Daraa, one of the first cities to see large protests against President Bashar Assad in 2011. It remains contested by US-backed rebels and government forces supported by Russia and Iran. Large parts of the city have been reduced to rubble by government artillery and Russian air power.

The government maintains it is fighting against terrorist groups. The al-Qaeda-linked Levant Liberation Committee is one of the most potent factions fighting alongside rebels in Daraa.

The truce covers the Quneitra, Daraa, and Sweida provinces.