World powers agree Syria ceasefire plan but Russian bombing continues

World powers have agreed to implement a "cessation of hostilities" in Syria and to immediately expand the rapid delivery of humanitarian aid to besieged towns.

But the marathon talks in Munich, which included US, UK and Russian diplomats and more than a dozen countries, failed to secure a complete ceasefire or an end to Russian bombing.

US secretary of state John Kerry said all nations involved in the talks agreed that Syrian peace negotiations should resume in Geneva as soon as possible.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond attended the talks and welcomed the settlement but said progress relied upon Russia agreeing to cease bombing civilians and moderate opposition groups.

Shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn said the announcement was a "welcome step forward", but added: "The test will be whether it actually happens on the ground and if it includes an end to Russia's bombing of the Syrian moderate opposition."

The five years of fighting in Syria has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people and torn apart the country. Credit: Reuters

Some areas most in need of aid in Syria will not be included in the deal, because of the presence of the jihadist militant groups Al Nusra and the so-called Islamic State.

ITV News Middle East News Editor Lutfi Abu Aun tweeted:

A long-term ceasefire in Syria depended on those involved in the bloody civil war engaging in "genuine negotiation", Mr Kerry said.

"What we need to see in the next few days are actions on the ground, in the field," he said, adding that "without a political transition, it is not possible to achieve peace".

Mr Kerry said diplomats from the various nations had agreed to "accelerate and expand" efforts "within a week" to deliver much-needed humanitarian aid to Syrian towns.

The International Syria Support Group meeting in Munich brought together more than a dozen nations including members of the Syrian opposition. Credit: Reuters

Speaking after the marathon talks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said halting hostilities in the region would be a difficult task and confirmed Russia would not stop air attacks in Syria.

He told the news conference the cessation of hostilities did not apply to IS and Al Nusrah, saying: "Our airspace forces will continue working against these organisations."

Syria's main opposition group welcomed the plans, but cautioned they must see action before further talks in Switzerland could begin.

"If we see action and implementation, we will see you very soon in Geneva," Salim al-Muslat, spokesman for the High Negotiations Committee, told reporters.

The first peace talks in two years between belligerents in Syria fell apart last week before the marathon meeting in Munich.

The five years of fighting in Syria has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people, triggered Europe's refugee crisis and empowered IS militants.

ITV News Middle East News Editor Lutfi Abu Aun said there was not optimism at the latest deal among Syrians gathered at the Turkish border after fleeing the conflict in Aleppo.