Syria Truce on “Cessation of Hostilities” Come into Effect but ….
The US Russian truce deal on “cessation of hostilities” in Syria came into effect at midnight Damascus time. The ceasefire does not apply to ISIS , Al-Nusra, or “other terrorist organizations” designated by the UN, RT reported.
Earlier on Friday, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution urging all parties involved in Syrian civil war to adhere to the terms of the US-Russian deal.
The US-Russia brokered ceasefire was first announced on February 22 by Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama.
Under the “Terms for a Cessation of Hostilities in Syria,” the participants of the agreement are obligated to “cease attacks with any weapons, including rockets, mortars, and anti-tank guided missiles” and “refrain from acquiring or seeking to acquire territory from other parties to the ceasefire.” They must also allow “unhindered and sustained” access to humanitarian assistance missions and employ only “proportional force” in self-defense against those not party to the agreement.
The truce will be monitored by a task force co-chaired by Moscow and Washington. Russia and the US are to “work together to exchange pertinent information,” such as up-to-date maps indicating which sides have agreed to the ceasefire, and where they are located.
Earlier on Friday, the Syrian opposition taking part in the Geneva talks announced that they would respect the truce.
“The High Negotiations Committee (HNC) confirms the agreement of the "Free Syrian Army" factions and the armed opposition to a temporary truce from midnight Saturday,” an HNC statement said, as quoted by Reuters.
Damascus has supported the ceasefire, but says it will not tolerate terrorists exploiting it in order to restore their positions or receive support from abroad.
The UN stated that in the case that the truce is broken by an attack, a response employing force must not only be proportional, but also used only as a last resort.
UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said there had been several incidents reported in Damascus and Deraa in the first few minutes of the ceasefire, but that things quickly de-escalated.
Mistura also said that his office was looking into another breach, but didn’t provide any details.
“Let’s pray that this works, because frankly this is the best opportunity we can imagine the Syrian people has had for the last five years in order to see something better, and hopefully something related to peace. Facts will tell,” Mistura said.