World powers agree to "cease hostilities" in Syria. But skepticism reigns

The fighting should end within a week. Agreement also reached on increased aid distribution as of today. Battle against jihadist groups to continue as well as siege of Aleppo. Skepticism in Damascus: "For five years we have had statements, but few hard facts." Dimitri Medvedev: Dialogue is better than the outbreak of  "a new world war."


Munich (AsiaNews) - The great world powers USA and Russia, along with 15 other nations, have reached an agreement overnight for the "end of hostilities" in Syria, within a week.

The cessation of military operations will not include the ongoing battles against the jihadist groups the Nusra Front and the Islamic State.

The International Support Group for Syria gathered in the German city also agreed it is said to " immediately accelerate and expand the distribution of humanitarian aid." US and Russia will verify the implementation of the cease-fire through consultations with groups involved in the conflict.

The Group also expressed the desire for an immediate resumption of the peace talks between the Syrian government and rebels. The dialogue was initiated at the beginning of the month, but almost imeediatle calle doff because of the government offensive on the area occupied by rebels in Aleppo.

The UN says this battle has provoked the flight of at least 50 thousand people to Turkey, which is only permitting the seriously ill to cross the border. This is just the latest chapter in a war that has already claimed more than 260 thousand lives.

The main Syrian opposition group has welcomed the agreement, but has made it clear that the plan must be implemented on the ground, if there is to be a resumption of dialogue.

Currently the Munich statement seems  more similar to a good intention. A source for AsiaNews in Damascus, said: "We have seen so many declarations and resolutions over the past five years, but few hard facts. It is not so simple; we must wait and see. But it is positive that they have come together and have spoken clearly and strongly ".

The good intentions of last night’s statement were counter balanced by the harsh words expressed by US spokesman Mark Toner who accused Russia of having "exacerbated and intensified the conflict" in Syria.

French President Francois Hollande also criticized the Russian air operations and reiterated that there is no future for Bashar Assad in Syria.

While the Russian Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev warned each block involved in the negotiations that any temptation to intervene in support of one or the other in Syria will lead to a total and "permanent war". Dialogue - he explained - "is better than unleashing a new world war."