The fourth day into Syria’s ceasefire and it’s still holding. UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura today announced that he intends to hold a new round of peace talks, aimed at ending the five year civil war, on March 9.
While there were a lot of claims of “violations,” particularly on the first day, everyone seems to be holding back, and fighting within Syria is almost entirely restricted to clashes involving factions like al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, which were explicitly excluded from the ceasefire.
President Bashar al-Assad also reported that there were violations “from the first day” by the rebels, but that the Army was ordered to refrain from responding, adding that his government supports the ceasefire and will “do our part” to keep it intact.
A lot of claims of violations appear to be false, in fact, with rebels complaining about Russian airstrikes even as witnesses confirm that Russia has kept their fleet grounded in recent days, which Russian officials say was meant to avoid “mistakes” risking the truce.
The last round of peace talks never really got going, and indeed by the time the UN announced they were “paused” many of the parties were arguing it had never really begun in the first place. The rebels had demanded a ceasefire as a precondition for the talks, and showed up at the last ones simply to insist they weren’t going to attend. It remains to be seen if the new talks will be more successful.
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