Syria agrees to Eid ceasefire, says UN envoy Brahimi
The UN peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has said the Syrian government has agreed to a ceasefire over the annual Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which starts on Thursday.
Speaking in the Egyptian capital Cairo, Brahimi suggested that rebel fighter groups in Syria have also backed the deal. “Other factions in Syria that we were able to contact also agree on the principle of the ceasefire,” he said.
Brahimi visited Syria over the weekend, where he began talks with the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus over the conflict that has been raging now for nineteen months.
Although as Brahimi spoke in Cairo, bombing raids were being carried out over the northern Syrian town of Maarat al-Numan and surrounding villages, he told the conference: “After the visit I made to Damascus, there is agreement from the Syrian government for a ceasefire during the Eid.”
However, other reports claim that rebels have not agreed to the cessation of hostilities, raising questions about ways to implement a ceasefire and its usefulness if it cannot be overseen, as Brahimi has not put anything into the plan that mentions international observation.
The Syrian foreign ministry has said that the ceasefire has not been guaranteed and that a decision would be announced on the first day of the holiday, which is Thursday. The Eid holiday goes on for three days, but no time period for the ceasefire has yet been released. It is Brahimi’s wish to begin further talks and to agree an extension of the truce once it starts.
This is the second pronouncement of a ceasefire in Syria this year. The first failed within days and neither side accepted responsibility for its undoing.