Syrian regime 'agrees to ceasefire for Islamic holiday'

 

Beirut

UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi's announcement that the Syrian regime has agreed to a ceasefire over the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha was met with scepticism and confusion, as questions were raised over the truce's implementation and whether rebel factions would agree to it.

The picture was further clouded yesterday as the Syrian government said it was still in the process of "studying" the proposal, just hours after Mr Brahimi said that President Bashar al-Assad's regime had accepted to lay down arms over the Eid holiday, which begins tomorrow in Syria. Mr Brahimi said the government will release a statement accepting the ceasefire by the end of today.

In a reminder of the enormity of the task ahead, Syrian state television yesterday said a car bomb had exploded in southern Damascus, killing six people. In the country's north-west, rebels and regime forces remained locked in a fierce and strategically important battle, with fighter jets strafing positions near the town of Maarat al-Numan on a key supply line for regime troops in the city of Aleppo, which had fallen into rebel hands.

The stakes are high for the new envoy, who has been touring the region while attempting to broker a peace plan to bring an end to the 19-month conflict that is estimated by activists to have claimed more than 32,000 lives.

An April ceasefire secured by his predecessor, Kofi Annan, barely took hold. That truce was overseen by a team of UN peacekeepers, whereas there were no details of mechanisms to monitor or enforce the Eid ceasefire, the exact time frame of which remains unclear. When the envoy visited Lebanon last week, his spokesman, Ahmad Fawzi, told The Independent that the idea of sending in peacekeepers "may develop" but was not a "main proposal", dismissing reports that a plan to send 3,000 monitors was being mulled.

Mr Brahimi, who two months into the job has yet to announce a plan to broker peace, said he hoped the "humble initiative" would lead to "a comprehensive political process". He said that the ceasefire was discussed with other factions "that we were able to contact", most of which agreed "on the principle".

But the Free Syrian Army said it would only abide by the truce if the government puts down its weapons first, while Al-Nusra Front, an extremist group linked with al-Qa'ida, rejected it.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?