The Syrian government announced a cease-fire brokered by Russia and Turkey which went into effect on Friday morning. This agreement is one of many decisions which are meant to end the five-years war once and for all.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and its forces managed to finally gain control over a big part of the city of Aleppo, this month. The once rebel-held city became free of rebels and suddenly, the end of the war could be seen in the distance. The rebel groups are reportedly hiding in the province of Idlib and are now weaker than ever. Still, it is possible that fighting might go on there. As for Turkey and Russia, the countries which have brokered the deal, they have opposing opinions. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan characterized the cease-fire as being an “opportunity” which they should not throw away. On the other hand, Russian president Vladimir Putin said that it is nothing more than a “fragile” deal.
According to the Syrian army, the deal includes a great number of rebel groups. However, not jihadists like The Islamic State and the country’s al-Qaeda group. On Thursday, during a meeting with his defense and foreign ministers, Vladimir Putin explained that they signed no more than three documents. One is the actual cease-fire deal. The second is an agreement which is meant to monitor the cease-fire and lastly, a statement which marks the beginning of peace talks which are going to be held in Kazakhstan. It is interesting to note that when president Barack Obama will be leaving the office in January, the United States’ presence in the Syrian territory will be diminished greatly. In consequence, Russia and Turkey are the ones which have taken the negotiations into their own hands.
Fighting might still continue
However, even if the cease-fire entered into force on Friday, witnessed have reported many isolated violent clashes. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the biggest part of the country was silent overnight. Still, in the province of Hama, some rebel groups and government forces clashed in what they described as a violent fight. It is normal for them to act, because the cease-fire completely shuts them and their activity down. A part of the city of Damascus was also swallowed by gun fire. It happened just a few hours after the deal went into effect.
Still, is Russia the most important player in this whole Syrian situation? It seems so. After the fall of Aleppo and its rescue from the hands of the rebels, Russia seemed to have had control over all the military operations. Now, with this cease-fire, the country appears to also have a diplomatic advantage. So, it is a win-win situation for Moscow indeed. Interestingly enough, this current agreement had nothing to do with the United States. Instead, it came from a deal struck between Turkey and Russia. However, a question remains. Will Russia’s next step be a solution against the terrorist groups like the Islamic State? The current cease-fire does not encompass it, so it does not solve all of Syria’s problems. We will have to wait and see.
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