Last week, Russia and the United States agreed to hold ceasefire between the rebel groups and the Syrian government. As per the agreement seize fire is to continue for 10 days that started this week. But then again despite the positive outcome of the talks between the two Cold-War enemies, there still seems to be some kind of mistrust.
The success of ceasefire hinges on the future of a 2 lane highway that leads to Aleppo. This highway is lined with wreckage of burned out cars and deserted buildings. It runs from Turkey and leads to eastern part of Aleppo which is held by the rebels supported by the United States. Further, there are somewhere around 250,000 civilians in the city who face water, food and medicine shortage.
Under the terms of the ceasefire pact, the road has to be cleared of the Syrian troops who have held the road for last 2 months and of the rebels who have been challenged the troops ever since. This is in in order to make a way for the aid convoys to reach Aleppo. The aid convoy has been stuck at Turkey unable to reach Aleppo. Unfortunate thing is that the ceasefire pact may be a failure.
There are many reasons why the ceasefire pact wouldn’t last log. From the Syrian Government to Al-Nusra, none really want the pact to last. The pact states that the Syrian troops and rebels backed by the US wouldn’t shoot at each other. However, it doesn’t include the terrorist organizations. If the truce lasts for more than seven days, then the US and Russian government will coordinate their air-force strikes against IS and Al-Nusra. At the same time Syrian government will have to stop shelling the rebel held areas. If the target is achieved, the Syrian government and rebels can then perhaps negotiate to end the war for good.
All of this sounds good except that the end objective of the US and Russia is different. The US wants Assad out of power, while Russia wants a stable government which it sees with Assad. While both of them trade accusations, the opposition groups in Syria are particularly concerned that the truce will help Assad government to improve its military positions and thus launching an offensive in the south. Another reason for the ceasefire to be a failure could be the IS and Al-Nusra attacking both the Syrian troops and rebels, in part, to avoid becoming the only remaining targets of airstrikes.
Another problem that arise from the ceasefire-pact is whether how to enforced the pact? For the pact to be enforced there needs to be a monitoring group, which perhaps isn’t there.
While it will be remarkable if the pact is indeed upheld, it seems highly unlikely, for the stakes are too high for each side.