Syrian army, rebels voice Acceptance of ceasefire during Eid Ul Azha holiday amid rejection from extremists

JNN  25 Oct 2012 DAMASCUS :  The Syrian army and the armed rebels on Thursday voiced commitment to the internationally-backed cease-fire during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha amid rejection from the extremist groups currently operative on ground.

The Syrian army announced in a statement Thursday the halt of all military operations nationwide for the next four days to mark Eid al-Adha, however, preserving the right to retaliate in case the armed rebels continue aggressions against civilians and government troops.

The statement, carried by the state-TV, said the army’s general command said the truce will go into effect from Friday morning till Monday.

It, however, made it abundantly clear that the truce would be invalid if the armed groups continued “firing at civilians and government troops as well as attacking public and private properties and using booby-trapped cars and improvised explosive devices.”

The truce would also be nullified if the armed groups consolidated their presence or received enforcement with fighters or munitions, the statement said.

For its part, the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) reportedly said Thursday that its armed fighters will honor the Eid truce, but demanded the release of detainees on Friday.

Both sides seemed to have agreed on the truce in response to the international efforts to establish a cease of fighting across Syria during the four-day holiday. But the extremists or jihadist groups declared that they are loose of the truce as the so-called “Ansar al-Islam” group said its fighters will not abide by the truce and questioned the Syrian army’s intentions and truthfulness.

Another al-Qaida-linked group, al-Nusra Front, has also reportedly rejected the truce.

The cease-fire proposal was put forward by the UN-Arab League ( AL) joint special representative to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, who said Wednesday that the Syrian government accepted his proposal for a cease-fire during the holiday.

“If the cease-fire initiative could succeed, other measures would be built on it and the cease-fire would be implemented on a wider scale and within a complete political process,” Brahimi said.

The UN Security Council on Wednesday welcomed the truce initiative, and called on “all regional and international actors to use their influence on the parties concerned to facilitate the implementation of the cease-fire and cessation of violence.”

Still, with the rejection of the extremist groups that have totally different agendas far from yearning to democracy and freedom, the prospects of the cease-fire seem slim.


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