24 Hours After Syrian “Ceasefire” Deal, Nobody Trusts Anybody

Tuesday, February 23, 2016
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden

On Monday, the US and Russia announced that an agreement on a “cessation of hostilities” in Syria had been reached.

The deal applies only to groups not deemed to be “terrorists” and that determination will supposedly be made by Washington and Moscow with the proper deference to UN designations.

On Tuesday, Bashar al-Assad said his government (or whatever is left of it) is prepared to abide by the terms. “The Syrian government announces its acceptance of a halt to combat operations on the basis of continuing military efforts to combat terrorism against Daesh, the Nusra Front, and the other terrorist organizations linked to it and to the al Qaeda organization, according to the Russian-American announcement,” a statement reads.

But Damascus also warned that foreign interference (i.e. from Turkey or Saudi Arabia) threatens to undermine the deal. “Foreign support to armed groups should be halted” in order to “prevent these organizations from strengthening their capabilities or changing their positions, in order to avoid what may lead to wrecking this agreement.” In other words, if Ankara and Riyadh continue to meddle, Damascus will call the whole thing off and you can bet Tehran will support that decision.

As for the rebels, they wholeheartedly agree with our assessment from Monday. “There are al-Nusra elements everywhere,” we said. “Russia will always be able to claim that its warplanes are targeting parties not subject to the agreement because the situation on the ground is impossibly fluid.”

The deal “leaves a significant loophole by allowing further attacks, including air strikes, against Islamic State, Nusra and other militant groups,” Reuters noted yesterday, adding that “Bashar al-Zoubi, head of the political office of the Yarmouk Army, part of the rebel Free Syrian Army, said that would provide cover for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Russian allies to keep attacking opposition-held territory where rebel and militant factions are tightly packed.”

The Rest…HERE

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