The Syrian ceasefire ‘agreement’ was reported with optimism—and there was a lull in the fighting as it went into effect today at dawn—but it’s fallen apart since then.In the morning there were there were heavy clashes in the north. and Reuters reports that a Damascus car bomb has shattered the truce.“
One activist groups has counted at least 110 casualties around the country today (as of two hours ago).
Considering that past ceasefire efforts have collapsed as both sides refused to lay down their arms, it’s no wonder this temporary truce was destined to fail. Here’s eight reasons why::
1. The two sides have been fighting for 19 months
This civil war has been going on for 19 months. It’s a bit naive to think that a four-day truce—which has no stated plans for its aftermath—is going to factor into the big picture.
Last year during Eid al-Adha (which fell on Nov. 6-7) Syrian troops descended on a defiant neighbourhood in Homs, kicking in doors and making arrests following weeks of violence.
2. It’s unmonitored
The truce—proposed by U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and endorsed by the Security Council—was set for only the four days of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, but there were no arrangements for monitoring compliance.
3. Assad’s government was quick to accept the loose truce
Assad is commanding a well-equipped, entrenched force that has everything to gain from a ceasefire during an insurrection.
Note: It was Russia reassured the world that Bashar al-Assad’s regime was going to accept the UN ceasefire proposal.
4. There was no cohesive agreement from the rebels, because they aren’t cohesive
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) indicated that it would recognise the holiday, but it has been plagued by disorganization and infighting while radical jihadist elements have become the most organised rebel force. The Associated Press reports that the first serious battle on Friday involved the radical Islamist group Jabhat al-Nusra, which “rejected the cease-fire from the outset.”
5. There is a grinding battle going on in Aleppo
Jabhat al-Nusra stormed a Syrian military base outside of, Maaret al-Numan, a strategic town on the road to the northern city of Aleppo. In the city the two sides have been engaging in street-by-street urban warfare for weeks with neither side able to score a decisive victory, AP reports.
6. The tie goes to the defender
The strategic advantage of a ceasefire always goes to the regime. They are well-supplied and centralized. Every advance during every day means quite a bit to a rebel force without enough food or bullets while every delay is an opportunity for the regime to further consolidate, regroup and make a case for the continuance of the status quo.
7. Religious ceasefires rarely last, in fact, they’re often used for surprise attacks
Yom Kippur War anyone?
Religious holidays, especially Ramadan, are more often a pretense than a recognised peacetime. Iraqis fought over most of the Ramadan’s in the Iraq War, Palestinians launched the Intifada during Ramadan, the Indian government suggested a ceasefire with Kashmir in observance of Ramadan which never got off the ground.
The Syrian rebels aren’t stupid. They know that the Assad government could possibly use the opportunity to catch them by surprise.
8. This has been no holds barred from the beginning
Why would the rebels trust the guy who has been massacring his own people for more than a year? Why would the regime trust the dissidents who have committed atrocities as well and have clearly been infiltrated by al-Qaeda?
Nevertheless, U.S. diplomat Daniel Serwer said Lakhdar Brahimi wasn’t wrong to try and should keep on trying because any temporary truce gives relative moderates on both sides an opportunity to reassert themselves.
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