Russia And Turkey Have Agreed On Ceasefire For Syria, What's Next?
Jan 02 2017 by Lorena Waters
The Security Council could vote on the resolution as early as Saturday, although its members have asked for modifications to the draft, Ambassador Vitaly I. Churkin of Russian Federation told reporters.
The two previous Syria ceasefires were brokered by Washington and Moscow in February and September, but both collapsed within weeks, with the U.S. and Russian Federation accusing each other of not adhering to obligations.
FORDHAM: He says, "as Syrians, we reject the exclusion of that al-Qaida-linked group not because we support them or sympathize with them, but", he says, "that gives the regime and its allies a pretext they've used before to continue massacres and displacements of people in any area controlled by rebels".
Several opposition officials acknowledged the deal, and a spokesman for the Free Syrian Army (FSA), a loose alliance of armed opposition groups backed by Turkey, said it would abide by the truce.
"Continued violations by the regime and bombardment and attempts to attack areas under the control of the revolutionary factions will make the agreement null and void", Reuters quoted a statement from the rebel groups as saying.
It said this followed "successes achieved by the armed forces" - an apparent reference to the capture of rebel-held neighbourhoods in Aleppo earlier this month. Minutes later, the Syrian military said it would halt operations nationwide starting at midnight.
Syrian state media said those talks would take place soon.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group confirmed clashes in the Barada valley on Saturday, and said there had also been government shelling in the southern provinces of Quneitra and Deraa.
He described the deal as "fragile" but he praised the agreements as the result of the work of Russia's defence and foreign ministries with Moscow's partners in the region. The Turkish military has also been operating on the ground in Syria since August, and in recent days has launched a push to retake the city of al-Bab from "IS".
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said in an interview Thursday that the new ceasefire is more promising than its predecessors, as the Russian guarantees were stronger. He said that he has confidence in the seriousness of the agreement.
Russian Federation said the deal was signed by seven of Syria's major rebel factions, though none of them immediately confirmed it, and one denied signing it.
According to reports, the Syrian ceasefire was the first major worldwide diplomatic initiative in the Middle East in decades not to involve the United States.
The Security Council met behind closed doors for an hour to consider a proposed resolution endorsing the ceasefire.
The text does not mention the planned UN-led talks in Geneva in February.
At least 300,000 people are believed to have been killed in the Syrian war which started in March 2011.
The position of other Islamist groups such as Jabhat Fatehal-Sham and Ahrar al-Sham with respect to the ceasefire isunclear; both have criticised it.