Daily Management Review

'Cessation of Hostilities' Plan Agreed to by the Syrian Government


'Cessation of Hostilities' Plan Agreed to by the Syrian Government
As the Assad government said it would accept a “cessation of hostilities” on the condition that attacks on Islamic State, al-Nusra and other UN-identified terrorist groups can continue, a preliminary hurdle to the start of a US and Russian-brokered ceasefire in Syria was cleared.
The cessation plan is due to begin on Saturday and Syria would work with Russia to define which groups and areas would be included in the cessation of hostilities plan, said the Bashar al-Assad government of Syria.
Syria has however warned that it would regard the opposition groups strengthening their military positions as a breach of the agreement. Is it demanded that the opposition should not be allowed to take advantage of this cease fire.
The Syrian government, the opposition forces sponsored by Saudi Arabia, and Syrian Kurds all had to agree to the terms and conditions of a cease fire agreement that was jointly announced by Russia and America on Monday and sources said that this announcement would not have been made if both the countries did not have clear indications that it would be agreed upon by all parties involves except the Islamic State.
The ferocity of Russian air force strikes against opposition positions in recent weeks have helped Assad’s recent military advances around Aleppo – Syria’s second city.
The difficulties in marking out what territory is covered, and the way in which some opposition groups are interwoven with al-Nusra have raised skepticism about the holding of the ceasefire for long.
In order to avoid wrecking the agreement, the Syrian government stressed the importance “preventing the armed groups from strengthening their capabilities or changing their positions” by sealing the borders, halting foreign support to these groups.
Foreign fighters supporting both the “moderate” opposition and Isis have been supplied via Turkey, believes the Assad government.
Late on Monday the terms of the ceasefire were accepted by the Syrian high negotiating committee – the main umbrella organisation for Syrian opposition groups backed by the west and Saudi Arabia. However ending all sieges, allowing in humanitarian aid, releasing all detainees and ending bombardments by ground or air were the main points that would decide the success of the plan, it added.
Raising its toll for documented deaths to more than 270,000, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said on Tuesday that the number of dead in Syria's five-year-long war is estimated at more than 370,000.
Due to several reasons that include secrecy over casualties on the part of the warring sides, and difficulties in reaching some areas the Observatory said it could not document all deaths.
Meanwhile, Turkey is under pressure from the UN to allow in tens of thousands more refugees massed on the Syrian border even as the country has welcomed the ceasefire plan. They are fleeing from the fighting in the Aleppo area.
Turkey is not optimistic about a positive outcome to talks on a political transition even as the country welcomes plans for a halt to fighting in Syria, said the Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus on Tuesday.

The actions that Russian forces could take against Syria's moderate opposition and civilians is a cause of concern for Ankara, Kurtulmus said.
Excluding groups such as Islamic State and al Qaeda's Nusra Front, a loophole Syrian rebels immediately highlighted as a problem, the United States and Russia announced plans for a "cessation of hostilities" in Syria that would take effect on Saturday.

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