After 5 and a half years of war in Syria, where a civil war has fused with a parallel war that comes from ISIS´s expansion, there is a new hope. This hope comes from the agreement -- after almost two weeks of negotiations -- between the United States (that supports the rebel forces) and Russia (that supports the governmental forces of President Bashar al-Assad) for a cease fire that will start on the 12th of September.

The agreement reached by the US secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Serguéi Lavrov seems like the most decisive attempt for peace since the beginning of the conflict. Despite the high hopes, similar agreements -- like the one in February in Munich -- broke after mutual accusations of violation of the terms.

Therefore, nobody hides that the agreement comes as great news, but at the same time nobody hides that there are many uncertainties surrounding it.

Main goals of the agreement

The agreement between the United States and Russia comes as a parallel cease fire between the forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad and the rebel forces, for whom they speak for. The interest behind the cease-fire is simple. On one hand, the agreement to cease hostilities on the ground starting tomorrow comes as a sign of good will with only two weeks to go before a reunion with the Security Council, where the peace negotiations will try to be retaken, after a failed attempt in the past.

On the other hand, a cease-fire between rebel and governmental forces in Syria, backed up by their major allies, the United States and Russia, will make possible the opening of a Humanitarian corridor to evacuate the civil population that has gotten caught in the cross-fire and distribute humanitarian aid to territories that haven’t been receiving it for weeks.

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If both sides respect the cease-fire for a period of one week, the US and Russia have promised to start collaborating in a campaign of coordinated attacks on ISIS and al Nusra, which are the common enemies of all parts involved in the Syrian war.

All parts remain skeptical about the agreement

After more than 5 years of war any agreement comes as good news. However, nobody hides his skepticism about the use of the agreement. In a general ambience of distrust, the different sides believe the cease-fire will be used to re-arm and re-organize before the hostilities inevitably restart.

The agreement, though symbolically strong, is weak on paper. The cease-fire depends on the trust and good will of the regime and the rebel forces that have used these situations in the past to strengthen their positions or launch surprise attacks. The United States and Russia know that the agreement could easily be broken within hours or days and have decided to not get too involved in it with strong statements. The fact that they haven’t agreed to any mechanism to punish those who break the cease-fire shows the lack of trust they have in it.