UN Unanimously Backs Ceasefire in Syria

Turkey insists Afrin invasion doesn't count

After several days of fighting over the exact wording, the UN Security Council unanimously backed a ceasefire resolution over the weekend, calling for an end to fighting in not just Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of the Syrian capital of Damascus, but the rest of the country.

Over 500 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the past week in fighting around the Ghouta area, the last substantial rebel-held territory near the capital, as Syrian and Russian forces pounded the territory trying to force an evacuation deal.

The deal is to stop fighting, and get humanitarian aid into the area “without delay,” but timing isn’t clear, with the Syrian government saying they don’t consider it valid against “terrorist” groups, but promising to work quickly on getting aid into these areas. Turkey has said they don’t believe the ceasefire applies to their invasion, though Syria says it does.

Aid shipments are difficult to get into combat areas, though a recent UN/Red Crescent shipments around Damascus likely will serve as a model for yet more influxes into the besieged areas, where large number of civilians remain trapped in what are basically open-fire zones.

The disputes already about interpretation of the language of the ceasefire suggest it’s going to be tough going to really get it implemented in a timely fashion, but everyone seems to be satisfied for now, with all having the impression the deal orders everyone else to stop fighting, but permits their respective offensives.

With the ceasefire only covering a 30-day span, that could easily mean that, like some previous efforts, the ceasefire will be largely over by the time there’s any agreement on what it actually says, and mostly serves as an excuse for the nations involved to condemn one another for “violating” the terms as they understand them.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.