Syria's Planned Weekend Ceasefire In Doubt

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 24 2012 3:13 PM

So Much For This Weekend's Holiday Ceasefire in Syria

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A general view shows the heavily destroyed Bab Amro neighbourhood of Homs on May 2, 2012

Photo by Joseph Eid/AFP/GettyImages.

Today began with a rare bit of good news from civil war-torn Syria, with UN peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi announcing that that the Assad regime and opposition forces had agreed to a ceasefire during this weekend’s Muslim holiday, Eid al-Adha. By this afternoon, however, the latest reports suggest that Syria’s foreign ministry is still studying the proposal and hasn't made a final decision just yet. Given recent history, that means international observers and opposition forces aren't exactly holding their breaths.

Here's Reuters with the latest:

The [ministry's] statement threw Brahimi's efforts to arrange a pause in the bloodshed in Syria into even more confusion, as divided rebel groups fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad gave mixed messages....
Brahimi, the joint U.N.-Arab League special envoy, had crisscrossed the Middle East to push the warring factions and their international backers to agree to a truce during the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha— a mission that included talks with Assad in Damascus at the weekend.
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It remains unclear whether the government's delay will mean an end to the prospects of the holiday ceasefire, although it is starting to look that way. The al-Nusra Front, an Islamist group that says it has carried out several high-profile bomb attacks, said it would not be tricked into playing "filthy games." The main armed rebel group, the Free Syrian Army, meanwhile, took a slightly more measured stance, saying it would reciprocate any ceasefire observed by the government but nonetheless expressing serious doubt that Assad would ultimately sign on to the deal.

A previous ceasefire arranged last April between the government and opposition forces collapsed within days after both sides accused each other of breaking it.

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