72-Hour Deal Is First New Ceasefire Since February
Early today, the Syrian government announced a 72-hour ceasefire to cover the Eid al-Fitr holiday, with a rebel alliance agreeing to abide by the same ceasefire, marking the first nationwide ceasefire announced in Syria since the February pact.
As is so often the case, the implementing the ceasefire was a lot harder than announcing it, with rebels claiming shelling against rebel targets around metro Damascus continued even after the ceasefire was announced. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported fighting over the nearby town of Maydaa, with the government having nearly taken it.
Airstrikes were also reported against al-Qaeda-held Jaish al-Shughur, in Idlib Province. In previous ceasefires, al-Qaeda and ISIS were explicitly excluded, though in this case Syria’s military only said the ceasefire would be nationwide, with no such limits stated.
Eid al-Fitr is among the most important holidays on the Islamic calendar. Marking the end of the month of Ramadan, which includes fasting during daylight hours, the Eid is a long feast. Celebrating the holiday during a war is always difficult, though it is not unusual for groups to agree to truces around the Eid itself, giving the civilian population a brief respite.
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