Two days before the Syrian military is supposed to withdraw its heavy artillery from cities and four days before the full scale ceasefire is to begin, it already looks unlikely, with top rebel officials saying that the plan is “doomed” to fail.
The comments come after Syrian President Bashar Assad demanded that the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the top rebel combat force, offer a written pledge to participate in the ceasefire. The FSA leadership has ruled out giving any such guarantee.
Assad’s move was somewhat of a last minute change, but not a big one, since naturally the Annan plan for a ceasefire rested on the assumption that both sides would halt their offensives against one another.
Interestingly, Free Syrian Army spokesmen are continuing to insist that the organization will
honor the ceasefire. They are providing no indication why they refuse to put it in writing, however.
The move is the latest in a series of international efforts to get the two sides to the negotiating table. Neither side has appeared very willing to do so, but the Assad regime has agreed in principle on some occasions to talks, only to see them spurned by the rebels.
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