Fighting Continues as Syrian Tanks Slowly Leave Cities Ahead of Deadline

Regime Forces Rely on Helicopters to Attack Northern Rebel Sites

Just one week from today the Syrian Civil War is to fall silence. At least that is the hope.

UN special envoy Kofi Annan has set 6 AM on April 12 as the formal deadline for the ceasefire, two days after the April 10 deadline for the Assad regime to remove heavy ground forces from cities. With the deadline so close, the violence shows no sign of letting up, with both sides launching regular attacks on the other.

Government forces are still using their tanks in the area around the capital city, but reports say that they are slowly but surely removing them from major population centers elsewhere to comply with the letter of the agreement.

Not necessarily the spirit of the agreement, however, with neither side trusting the other to stop attacks when the time comes, Assad forces are said to be relying increasingly on helicopter gunships against rebel targets in the far north.

Western nations are jumping the gun on what they assume will be Assad’s failure to meet the deadline, with French FM Alain Juppe insisting that his government never considered Assad’s agreement trustworthy and US officials maintaining since last weekend that only regime change will do. Assad’s regime, meanwhile, insists it will abide by the requirements, but continues to doubt whether the rebels will.

The rebels have been oddly quiet on the matter in recent days, initially rejecting the idea of negotiations on general principle but since Annan’s latest push have simply let the West do the talking, with the underlying assumption that they will eventually find an excuse for international intervention.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.