Jordan, Russia and the US agreed upon the de-escalation zones in Deraa, Quneitra and Suweida Provinces in southwest Syria on Friday (July 7). The truce came into effect in noon (Damascus time) on July 9. According to sources close to Inside Syria Media Centre, no violations of the ceasefire have so far been registered.
The UN welcomed the agreement, with Secretary General Antonio Guterres saying: “This is a significant step towards reducing violence and increasing humanitarian access across Syria. It is in line with the pursuit of the goal of a comprehensive, nationwide ceasefire that has been endorsed by multiple UN Security Council resolutions.”
The (armed) oppositions, too, praised the ceasefire. However, Chief of Staff of the (so-called) ‘Free Syrian Army’ Ahmed Berri said that President Bashar al-Assad’s opponents seek a comprehensive truce not just in some areas, but in the entire country. From Berri’s statement, it is evident that the oppositions have a number of issues. And it’s quite natural, as they are being affected by internal problems. The Syrian Army, too, put the oppositions under tremendous pressure.
Reports suggest that the ‘Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’ group detained more than 100 people in Idlib for participating in Euphrates Shield (along with the Turkish Army) on July 2. Later on July 6, clashes between fighters of this group and Jaish al-Islam took place in Eastern Ghouta. These are not the only recent conflicts between the terrorists. Experts are of the opinion that there will be more such incidents as the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) advances. That is why Berri wants a comprehensive ceasefire so that the oppositions get a chance to maintain unity.
A truce across the war-ravaged West Asian country shall be a long-waited resolution for all Syrians as the war affects everyone. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to say how the oppositions will act because they can use the truce for regrouping and provocations like what happened in September 2016.
In any case, the fragile ceasefire in southwest Syria bears a hope of the return of peace. It can also allow all the parties to resolve the ongoing crisis diplomatically.
(Written by Mehmet Ersoy of Inside Syria Media Centre)
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