Syria ceasefire

Two principal players in the Syrian war theatre have at long last cut a temporary ceasefire deal

Editorial September 12, 2016
Syrian President Bashar al Assad. PHOTO: REUTERS

Two principal players in the Syrian war theatre have at long last cut a temporary ceasefire deal. The agreement between the US and Russia was announced by John Kerry, the US secretary of state, and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov after gruelling talks in Geneva. While this deal, which stipulates pause in fighting from Monday night so as to allow humanitarian aid to flow, suddenly creates a sense that perhaps cessation of hostilities may just be possible, such euphoric assessment will be highly misplaced. Even the two protagonists sponsoring this latest truce were cautious in describing the accord, going only so far as to say that it was a possible “turning point” after over five years of a brutal war that has killed more than 400,000 and driven millions from their homes, touching off a humanitarian crisis of spectacular proportions. Previous attempts by world powers to broker peace in Syria have been marred by wrangling false starts and eventual failure.

But this latest agreement is significant in one aspect. It involves two key players whose goals hitherto in their separate bombing campaigns have been at cross-purposes, with Russia — in tandem with Iran — doing every bit to prop up the Assad regime and the US aiding militias to pull the rug from under the discredited leader. How this new alignment will play itself out, only time will tell. But while a permanent end to war at this stage is a distinct impossibility, a temporary halt will at least put much-needed balm on the tortured souls of Syrians. Under the seven-day truce, the Syrian army will be required to relax its hold on Aleppo allowing humanitarian aid to be delivered while rebels would stop fighting around government areas. If the ceasefire holds, the Russian and US military would start planning joint air operations against extremist groups, including IS and al-Nusra Front. If everything goes according to script, it could eventually lead to start of negotiations among all stakeholders. But a lot will need to go right for this to happen.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 13th, 2016.

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Toticalling | 5 years ago | Reply One reason USA wants a temporary ceasefire is because Assad forces seem to be winning ground. It will help others strengthen their forces. USA has always supported fundamentalist forces in Muslim world. Starting from Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq. The idea is keep all sides carry on destabilising the country which should suit Israel and US rightwing forces. Assad is bad but others are far worse.
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