Syria’s ceasefire has mostly held through the weekend, and managed to get an endorsement from the UN Security Council on Saturday. At the same time, however, rebels are threatening to withdraw from the pact soon, accusing the government of widespread violations.
At issue, as ever, is the status of al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, which the rebels insisted are included in the truce, and the government insists are not. Syrian forces have continued to target Nusra and their allies throughout the ceasefire, and that is leading the rebels to demand Russia stop Syria from all strikes anywhere in the country or risk seeing the truce collapse.
The source of this confusion appears to be the language of the ceasefire excluding “UN-designated terrorist organizations.” While the Nusra Front is indeed such a group, they changed their official name over the summer, and the rebels are arguing that means they’re not technically terrorists anymore.
This was an inevitable source of dispute, as both sides were presenting totally different interpretations before the ceasefire even came into effect, and it’s not clear why either side thought they could leave the matter unresolved and not have it become an immediate risk to the ceasefire.
Either way, the hope is to keep the ceasefire together long enough to have some peace talks, but it’s totally unclear at this point whether that is possible or not, with Syrian forces eager to add to recent gains against Nusra while the rebels want to use the ceasefire as a way to stop the momentum and get Nusra and its allies, materially all of the non-ISIS rebels left in Syria, back on an even keel.
Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz
- Iran Warns of Retaliation If US Imposes New Sanctions - July 26th, 2017
- Taliban Fighters Attack Afghan Base, Kill at Least 26 Soldiers - July 26th, 2017
- Taliban Awash in US Arms, Vehicles, Complicate Afghan War - July 25th, 2017
- Blockading States Expand Qatar 'Terror' Blacklist - July 25th, 2017
- US SOCOM Chief Claims 60,000 to 70,000 ISIS Fighters Killed so Far - July 25th, 2017