12/30/2016, 09.51
SYRIA - RUSSIA - TURKEY
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Truce between the Syrian government and rebels holds. Most “serious" to date

The cease-fire came into force at midnight and seems to hold over much of the territory. Outbreaks of violence in Idlib and in the eastern part of Damascus. Analysts and experts talk of "serious" truce with a greater chance of success than in the past. Washington excluded from the negotiating table.

Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The nationwide  truce between Syrian government and rebel militias, mediated by Russia and Turkey, which entered into force at midnight last night, seems to hold on much of the territory despite isolated clashes.

The agreement includes a large part of the opposition groups, who have been battling President Bashar al-Assad for over five years, but not the Islamic state and other jihadist militias. The People’s Protection Unit (YPG, the Kurdish fighters in Syria) have also been excluded.

The national cease-fire - despite some outbreaks of violence that persist in some pockets of territory - should serve as encouragement for real peace talks, which should be held within one month in Kazakhstan. According to reports from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (Osdh) there have been clashes between loyalists and rebels in the northern province of Hama.

Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman, reports that "small rebel groups and armed loyalists are trying to destroy the truce", because it would mark "the end of their presence."

The inhabitants of the Ghouta district, in the eastern part of Damascus, reported firearm shots two hours after the entry into force of the truce. Other "isolated" incidents occurred in Idlib, in northwestern Syria.

From March 2011 to present more than 300 thousand people [according to some sources 430 thousand] have died in the Syrian conflict; at least four million have been internally displaced others have sought refuge abroad, in regional neighbors or in Europe, sparking an unprecedented humanitarian crisis.

Analysts and experts point out the difference of this treaty that entered into force overnight, described as "the most serious" among those so far achieved. The cease-fire is not the result of an agreement between the US and Russia, as in the past. This time Moscow negotiated with Turkey, although a little over a year ago the two countries were at loggerheads over the shooting down of a Russian jet on the border between Syria and Turkey by the Ankara army.

Washington, the great absentee, however, called the signing of the truce between the government and rebels a "positive development".

The ceasefire excludes the Islamic State and other jihadist groups, including former Nusra Front (offshoot of al Qaeda in the country). Russian President Vladimir Putin however, says the truce is fragile.  Meanwhile, the future aims of the Iranian Russian axis in Syria after the recent recapture of Aleppo remain unclear.

The diplomatic steps taken in the last period on the Syrian arena are encouraging; even rebel groups involved in the conflict so far seem moderately optimistic about the possibility of the truce holding . Walid Muallem, Syria's foreign minister, said that "there is a real chance to reach a political agreement to end the bloodshed and lay the foundations for the country's future."

The fact that the rebels have lost ground in recent weeks is a further argument in favor of a peace plan. Just yesterday the High Committee for the Negotiations (Hnc), the umbrella group that includes most of the opposition movements, stated that resources are already limited and "it is no longer possible to continue" fighting.

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