Syrian rebels not yet sold on Turkish-Russian proposed ceasefire

Syrian rebels not yet sold on Turkish-Russian proposed ceasefire
Turkey and Russia say they have agreed the terms of a ceasefire in Syria but rebels have reacted with much reservation.
2 min read
28 December, 2016
The previous US-Russia brokered ceasefire quickly failed after continued bombing [Anadolu]

Turkey and Russia have agreed the terms of a ceasefire in Syria, Turkish state media has reported, but rebels have reacted with much reservation.

The ceasefire will allegedly come into effect after midnight Wednesday, the state-owned Anadolu agency reported, quoting unnamed sources. Terror groups will be excluded from the agreement, it added, without specifying any by name.

This follows a meeting between Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Syrian opposition representatives in Ankara regarding the establishment of a "permanent" solution to Syria's war.

According to AP, however, several rebel groups have said they are witholding their agreement to a ceasefire until they receive details of its terms.

"The details of the ceasefire have not been presented officially to the opposition factions yet, and there is no agreement at this point," the official said.

Last week, Russia, Iran and Turkey issued a joint declaration backing renewed peace efforts, following the Syrian regime's capture of rebel-held eastern Aleppo. An earlier ceasefire effort in September, brokered by the US and Russia, quickly disintegrated as Damascus continued its bombing of opposition-held areas.

"There are two texts ready on a solution in Syria. One is about a political resolution and the other is about a ceasefire. They can be implemented any time," Cavusoglu told reporters in Ankara.

Syria's opposition, however, will not back Assad staying, he added.

"The whole world knows it is not possible for there to be a political transition with Assad, and we also all know that it is impossible for these people to unite around Assad."

Following the defeat of rebel forces in Aleppo earlier this month, Syria's regime, backed by Russia, has been boosted in its determination to capture all rebel-held areas of Syria.

Meanwhile, Russia, Iran and Turkey are planning a new peace effort that will begin Kazakhstan's capital of Astana, if the ceasefire stays in place.

The last round of talks to take place in Astana in 2015 were criticised for excluding moderate opposition groups.

Syria's war began in 2011 and has resulted in the deaths of over 430,000 people, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Humn Rights. The same watchdog says that an estimated 11 million Syrians have fled their homes in this period.