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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
News
i100
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Toure could leave Manchester City in the summer, claims his agent
transfers
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
News
media
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Senior C++ Developer

£350 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Senior C++ Developer – L...

Part Time SEN Teacher

£120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you looking for a Part Time S...

SEN Teaching Assistant Runcorn

£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...

Client Services Associate (MS Office, Analysis, Graduate)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Client Services Associate (Microsoft Office, Ana...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz