Syrian opposition says temporary truce possible, but deal seems far off

by
February 21, 2016

Syria’s opposition on Saturday said it had agreed to the “possibility” of a temporary truce, provided there were guarantees Damascus’s allies including Russia would cease fire, sieges were lifted and aid deliveries were allowed country-wide.

But there was no immediate sign that Moscow would drop its vow to continue its onslaught against those it views as “terrorists” among the range of armed groups pitted against President Bashar al-Assad.

And Assad himself added his own conditions to any truce plan, saying on Saturday he was ready for a ceasefire on condition that “terrorists” did not use a lull in fighting to their advantage, and that countries backing insurgents halted support for them.

He especially singled out neighboring Turkey. Throughout the five-year-old war, Damascus has routinely referred to all insurgents fighting the government and its allies as terrorists.

To the frustration of the United States and its allies who support rebels trying to topple the president, Russian air strikes have turned the tide of the civil war in Assad’s favor.

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