Guns Fell Silent Across Syria
After five years since an internal war started tormenting Syria, fighting came into a halt this week after a landmark UN-backed ceasefire came into effect.
According to media reports, fighting mostly stopped across western and northern Syria. Also, Russia stopped air strikes which paves the way for aid to reach civilians who are in need of humanitarian help.
Many hope the truce will be the beginning of the path to peace and end of civil war in Syria where an estimated 270,000 people had died and 11 million people were displaced.
US Calls for Parties to Comply With the Truce
In a press statement in Washington DC, US Secretary of State John Kerry said he is gratified to see the final arrangements concluded for a cessation of hostilities in Syria.
“I call on all parties to accept and fully comply with its terms.” – Secretary Kerry
He added that if implemented and adhered to, the cessation will not only lead to a decline in violence, but also continue to expand the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian supplies to besieged areas and support a political transition to a government that is responsive to the desires of the Syrian people.
Secretary Kerry commended the efforts and committed diplomacy of many countries and groups for the realization of the cessation of fighting in Syria.
“I want to thank all those who worked diligently to bring it about, including the U.S. and Russian delegations and other members of the International Syria Support Group.” – Secretary Kerry
However, Secretary Kerry highlighted that the truce needs the commitment from both parties.
“This is a moment of promise, but the fulfillment of that promise depends on actions.” – Secretary Kerry
He said all parties must meet their commitments under this agreement, ensure full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2254, and cease attacks on each other, including aerial bombardments.
In addition, all parties must remain committed over a period of time to make possible a political end to this conflict.
Kerry: Russia’s Cooperation Crucial to End Syrian Crisis
Secretary Kerry has said Russia needs to contribute in significant ways to sustaining the ability of the opposition and others to come to the table and create an atmosphere within which you can actually have a negotiation.
Secretary Kerry underscored the importance of Russia’s cooperation to end the crisis of the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding before the eyes of the world.
He stressed that Russia needs to join the United States in understanding that the Syrian crisis cannot go on, and that they have a major responsibility as a co-convener of the International Syria Support Group to create the framework within which that group can be successful and their word will be good.
Russia Supporting Assad?
Reports say Russia is still refusing to condemn the war crimes committed by the Syrian regime.
In October 2012, Russia and China vetoed a draft resolution that would have condemned the Assad regime. Russia is opposed to the establishment of safe no-fly zones which means that Russia is explicitly supporting the war-crimes committed by the regime.
Media reports say Sergei Lavrov the Russian Foreign Minister blamed the opposition.
Reports say that Russia is deploying naval military ships in the Mediterranean in an apparent gesture of support for the Assad regime.
Some analysts reportedly believe that Russia is worried about its heavy investments in Syria. Russia reportedly invested $30 billion in energy and tourism infrastructure and it has a naval base in the Syrian coastal city of Tartous. Reports say Russia fears that one day the international community might act against one of its client states in the old Soviet Union.