DUBAI Saudi Arabia, one of the main supporters of Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad, on Tuesday welcomed a ceasefire in Syria and said it hoped the deal would lead to a resumption of peace talks to end war in the country.
The nationwide truce brokered by the United States and Russia that began on Monday was mostly holding across Syria, and efforts to deliver badly needed aid to besieged areas including the northern city of Aleppo got underway.
Saudi state news agency SPA quoted a foreign ministry official as saying that Riyadh was monitoring how the ceasefire deal reached last week was being implemented.
"It (the kingdom) expressed its welcome for the ceasefire agreement which would ease the humanitarian suffering of the brotherly Syrian people," SPA said, quoting the official.
"The source asserted that it was important for Bashar al-Assad's regime and its allies to adhere to this agreement and that it leads to a resumption of the political process in Syria in accordance with the Geneva 1 communique," it added.
The Geneva 1 communique is a 2012 document setting out guidelines for a path to peace including a transitional governing authority. Saudi Arabia has repeatedly said that Assad must leave power either through peace negotiations or by force.
Russia and Iran are both providing military support to Assad against rebels and jihadi fighters. Iran has sent what it said were military "advisers" to help Assad and allowed Russian fighter-bombers to use an Iranian base to launch operations in Syria in August.
Qatar, another Gulf Arab state providing support for rebels fighting to overthrow Assad, earlier said it also welcomed the ceasefire deal, according to a statement dated on Saturday carried by state news agency QNA.
The agency said the ministry "expressed hope that the implementation of the agreement would contribute to reaching a comprehensive and permanent political settlement to end the Syrian crisis and lift the humanitarian suffering from the Syrian people ... ".
Qatar also urged world powers to ensure Syrian government forces implement the agreement.
(Reporting by Ahmed Tolba; Writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Hugh Lawson)