Since the cease-fire has come into action on Monday the 12th, Syria has lived an unusual period of peace. For the first time since the beginning of the conflict in 2011, some areas of the country have seen days with no casualties , both on the military and civilian side. Despite some information about sporadic clashes, the cease-fire –which doesn’t involve #ISIS or al Nusra, with whom the war still goes on as usual – is being respected and renewed every 48 hours by the different parts involved.
Delivery of humanitarian aid
Nobody hides the fact that the cease-fire is a weak one and could be broken at any moment. The distrust is more than evident between the Regime’s forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad and the rebel forces, but also between the United States and Russia. Both have crossed mutual accusations of breaking the agreement. However, until now the cease-fire still stands, which already makes it the most successful attempt to find peace in a country where an estimated 300.000 people have died since the beginning of the conflict.
Despite some violations of the cease-fire, the biggest concern lays now with the humanitarian aid which has to be delivered to close to 250.000 civilians which have had no access to any aid for more than a month. The United Nation’s convoys are still waiting at the Turkish border for the authorization from the regime to deliver the supplies needed, but the authorization – and demilitarization of the supply routes - still hasn’t come. The regime fears the UN could provide military equipment to the rebels as part of the humanitarian aid and have demanded to inspect the convoys, something the UN is against, as they fear the supplies might be looted.
The combined fight against ISIS
The agreement negotiated by the US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov also contemplated the possibility of launching coordinated attacks against ISIS and al Nusra if the cease-fire was respected for a period of one week. With two days to go for the first week of the agreement, it seems possible that both countries may plan coordinated attacks on the terrorist organizations, despite the lack of will of both countries to share information or facilities to do so.
What seems clear is that despite the skepticism surrounding the agreement, it has been the most successful negotiation until the moment regarding Syria since the hostilities broke out more than 5 years ago. If the agreement stands, it would send a positive message with only two weeks before the Security Council retakes the peace between the regime of Bashar al-Assad and the rebel forces. #Middle East #Foreign Affairs