Syria Ceasefire


UK-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it had recorded no civilian deaths in the first 15 hours of the truce.

The Syrian army has said the truce will be applied throughout Syria for seven days, but that it reserves the right to respond decisively to any violation by armed groups.A number of rebel factions have given a guarded welcome to the deal but expressed reservations about its implementation.The deal was struck on Friday in Geneva after months of talks between Russia and the US. It also requires both sides to allow unhindered access for humanitarian aid to besieged areas.

Humanitarian groups are hoping to make aid deliveries to the worst-hit areas, especially the war-torn city of Aleppo.

If the truce holds for seven days, the US and Russia will carry out co-ordinated air strikes on militant groups – including so-called Islamic State and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (known until recently as the Nusra Front).

The opposition Free Syrian Army group has said that while it will “co-operate positively” with the ceasefire, it was concerned it would benefit the government.

Another major rebel group, the hardline Islamist Ahrar al-Sham, initially rejected the deal but later appeared to have softened its stance.

Opposition sources quoted by Reuters said a forthcoming statement supporting the cessation “with harsh reservations” would be backed by “the largest groups”, including Ahrar al-Sham.

Speaking earlier, President Bashar al-Assad welcomed the deal but said the Syrian state was still “determined to recover every area from the terrorists, and to rebuild”.

If the truce holds…

Jihadist groups like so-called Islamic State and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham face the joint might of the Russian and US air forces

Moderate rebels and civilians in the areas they hold will no longer face the threat of indiscriminate air strikes such as barrel-bombing although the Syrian air force will not be grounded completely; aid deliveries will be allowed to areas currently under siege

President Assad will be in a stronger position as the US and Russia engage two of his most effective military opponents while moderate rebels observe the truce with his forces