Reports indicate there has been a reduction in violence in Syria since a ceasefire brokered by the United States and Russia came into effect on Monday evening.
In what’s being called “a regime of calm” cautious residents of a government-held part of Aleppo came out to celebrate the religious feast of Eid.
During the next seven days both government and rebel sides are to allow access for humanitarian aid to besieged areas.
“The truce would be really good as long as the militants don’t hurt us and attack us. It would be very good,” said one Aleppo resident.
The nationwide ceasefire excludes al Qaeda affiliate Al Nusra and ISIL militants. Under the agreement, Russian-backed government forces and opposition groups are expected to halt fighting for a while as a confidence-building measure. Opposition fighters are then expected to separate from jihadist groups in areas such as Aleppo. If the truce holds for seven days, the US and Russia will carry out co-ordinated air strikes on militant groups.
In some areas the planned ceasefire is struggling to take hold. There have been reports of explosions on a supply line to rebel-held east Aleppo and in the southern town of Deraa.
Just prior to the truce two people were killed in airstrikes on Aleppo and Homs.
It’s the second attempt this year by Washington and Moscow to halt the five-year civil war.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said:
“We think this is the only realistic possible resolution to this conflict with ultimately a political outcome. I urge all the parties to support it, because it may be the last chance that one has has to save a united Syria.”
Too early to say if Syria cease-fire will hold, John Kerry says https://t.co/z6APgbDtl8 🔓— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) September 12, 2016
Speaking earlier President Bashar al-Assad welcomed the truce but said his government would still take back land from what he called “terrorists” and rebuild the country.
On the opposition side the fractured groups have shown differing degrees of commitment to a deal they fear will benefit Assad’s regime.