Syria war ceasefire: Assad army declares peace deal over with no promise of renewal

The fragile US and Russian brokered ceasefire between the Syrian regime and opposition groups has been violated multiple times 

Tuesday 20 September 2016 11:39 BST
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Syrian pro-regime fighters walk in a bombed-out steet in Ramussa, after they took control of the strategically important district on the outskirts of the Syrian city of Aleppo
Syrian pro-regime fighters walk in a bombed-out steet in Ramussa, after they took control of the strategically important district on the outskirts of the Syrian city of Aleppo (AFP/Getty)

A Syrian army spokesperson has said that the week-long ceasefire in place across the country is now over, not adding whether the truce will be extended.

The ceasefire deal, which as per the original agreement technically expired at 11.59pm on Sunday, was supposed to renew every 48 hours as long as conditions were met. It is unclear whether Russian and US talks will lead to an extension and the originally proposed joint airstrikes against Isis and Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, or al-Nusra, the renamed Al-Qaeda affiliate operating in Syria.

In a statement to Syrian state media on Monday afternoon the army blamed rebels for continued violations, saying the opposition did not commit to "a single element" of the deal.

The seven-day truce brokered by Russia and the US was severely tested over the weekend when a US coalition-led airstrike accidentally targeted a Syrian army base near Isis territory, killing more than 60 people. An airstrike was also reported over a rebel-held neighborhood of Aleppo.

Earlier on Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said there is no point in the Syrian government upholding the current ceasefire in the face of repeated rebel violations.

More than 50 violations of the truce had been recorded by Russian monitors, Lieutenant General Sergei Rudskoy told reporters in Moscow.

“Considering that the conditions of the ceasefire are not being respected by the rebels, we consider it pointless for the Syrian government forces to respect it unilaterally,” Lieutenant General Sergei Rudskoy told reporters.

“Syrian servicemen and peaceful citizens are still dying. The cause of this is the fact the United States has no effective leverage to influence Syria's opposition and is unaware of the real situation on the ground,” Rudskoy said.

The hold up of aid into besieged east Aleppo, a key part of the ceasefire deal, has also stoked international frustrations and rebel anger.

Zakaria Malahifji, head of the political office of the Aleppo-based group Fastaqim, told Reuters there was “no hope” that Bashar al-Assad's government would allow promised aid to be delivered to the city, adding that he believed rebel factions in the city were preparing for renewed military action.

Goverment plans to grant amnesty and evacuate rebels from besieged al-Waer in Homs have also weakened the prospect of the ceasefire succeeding: in a statement signed by members of the Free Syrian Army and an Islamist faction, the groups said that any evacuations from besieged areas in Syria would mean continued fighting, as “the regime will have clearly ended its commitment to any proposed truce.”

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