- The ceasefire, which began Monday night, has been effective for the most part in preventing violence but is undermined now by the Syrian government.
- Humanitarian aid was a major part of the deal brokered by the US and Russia, and the Syrian government has not issued “a single permit,” granting access to Aleppo, according to a senior U.N. spokesman on Thursday.
- A convoy with food for tens of thousands of people is ready to go at a moment’s notice, but the lack of permits, along with poor security and road conditions on the Turkish-Syrian border are all still concerns.
In Geneva on last Friday, the US and Russia finally made a deal after months of negotiations on Syria.
They agreed upon a seven day ceasefire, which would allow humanitarian aid to have total access to areas ravaged by conflict, like Aleppo.
Russia is the biggest supporter of the ceasefire, and after supporting Syrian president Bashar al-Assad for the past year, they have now agreed to hold back strikes on rebel communities if they will separate themselves from jihadists.
Al-Assad supports the ceasefire and said that Syria is “determined to recover every area from the terrorists, and to rebuild.”
Is the ceasefire preventing violence?
- The seven day ceasefire kicked off Monday with violence happening in the first few hours.
- There were reportedly explosions in the rebel side of east Aleppo on a supply line, and in Deraa in the south.
- There were also attacks in Homs, Deir Azzour, and Hama.
- But, there were no civilian deaths for the first 15 hours of the ceasefire, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in the UK.
- As of Thursday, the ceasefire has been mostly effective.
Secretary of State John Kerry said that despite reports of violence, it is “far too early to draw definitive conclusions” on the effectiveness of the ceasefire. He said, “There will be undoubtedly be reports of violations here and there and that’s the nature of ceasefires. For all the doubts that exist, and there will be many challenges in the days to come, despite that, this plan has a chance to work.”
What will happen if the ceasefire is successful?
- If the ceasefire can be successful for the whole seven day period, then Russia and the US will open a joint command center to coordinate air strikes against Jihadist militant targets like IS and Nusra Front (recently renamed “Jabhat Fateh al-Sham”).
- Al-Assad’s position will be strengthened by the US and Russia teaming up to fight his opponents, as moderate rebel opposition will be taking part in the truce.
- The Syrian air force will not be bombing moderate rebels and civilians indiscriminately.
- Humanitarian aid will be allowed to reach besieged areas.
The Syrian conflict has been going on for five years now, causing the deaths of between 250,000-400,000 people and 4.8 million have fled the area as refugees.