A collection of newly released documents related to the Syrian ceasefire, as well as the planned Kazakhstan peace talk, shed some new light on the detail, including repeated rebel claims that the government is violating the ceasefire by attacking al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front.
While indications were in the terms of the deal itself “UN-designed terrorist organizations” were excluded from the deal, which provided some room to argue Nusra, having changed their name, is “different” now, the documents underscored that Nusra was never intended to be part of the ceasefire.
The documents further revealed 13 rebel factions signed on to a plan for peace talks, even though the plan did not include regime change as a precondition. The rebel Ahrar al-Sham insisted they were not among the signatories, and regime change had to happen for any peace talks.
Other documents revealed Turkey and Russia took equal responsibilities as guarantors of the ceasefire, and that both sides agreed to prevent advances into any new territory during the ceasefire. This remains a matter of some contention, as some rebels argue that the military’s push against Nusra amounts to taking new territory. It isn’t clear if the ban covers territory belonging to non-participants, as Turkey has similarly tried to capture ISIS territory since the ceasefire, and there hasn’t been any claim that would be a violation.
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