New Syrian Ceasefire Begins

Rebels Say Al-Qaeda Forces Included in Truce for First Time

The negotiations between Turkey, Iran, and Russia on a peace deal in Syria don’t appear to be making much headway of peace talks, but have managed to bear fruit in the form of a ceasefire, which took effect at midnight tonight, according to Syrian military officials familiar with the situation. Early reports are promising, with reports that fighting has slowed to a virtual halt.

The ceasefire is to be nationwide, and as usual will exclude ISIS. The status of al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front is somewhat less certain, as the Syrian Army statement insisted they are not included, but the rebels say the deal will, for the first time, include the Nusra fighters.

The deal is also to have Turkey and Russia monitor the truce among their respective allies, and for both sides to establish humanitarian corridors through which aid can flow into the country. This has been a problem with previous regional ceasefires, as the UN couldn’t seem to get into the areas where the fighting was paused to get things started.

The US, who was not involved in the negotiations, appeared skeptical that the ceasefire would actually be implemented, but said that they viewed it as a “positive development” if it was. The lack of US participation was a big reason why people were hopeful of this round of talks, as previously the talks have ended up boiling down to bilateral US-Russia negotiations that ended up constantly getting derailed over international tensions.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.