Russia and the Middle East
Sun, 17 june 2018Sun
$ 62.69

US&Russia Syria deal offers some relief - on eve of Eid Al-Adha

The United States and Russia agreed late on Friday to impose a ceasefire in Syria amid mounting international pressure on the warring parties of the Syrian conflict to ease the deepening humanitarian crisis and begin talks on a political transition, following more than five years of fighting that has left hundreds of thousands dead and several millions displaced.

US Secretary of State, John Kerry, announced the deal with Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, in Geneva after a day of marathon negotiations. Under the agreement, the fighting will halt at sundown tomorrow. If the ceasefire holds for seven days, the US and Russia would then work together to target an Al Qaida affiliate, formerly known as Jabhat Al Nusra, which in some cases has mingled with rebels that the US supports, the Gulf News said its editorial today.

"If this arrangement holds, we will see a significant reduction in violence across Syria," Kerry told reporters alongside Lavrov. "After a period of reduced violence, we will then see the United States and Russia taking coordinated steps to fight terrorists and restart the political process."

While the deal is not a 100 percent guarantee that it will reduce violence, given the collapse of the previous one at the beginning of the summer when the regime’s planes began bombing areas under the control of the opposition, it nonetheless offers relief to the thousands of families besieged in Aleppo and other towns during the Eid holidays. As Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha tomorrow, the Syrian people deserve a break from a gruelling five years of bloodshed.

The editorial continued, "The deal also offers some hope, even a slim one, that meaningful political talks will take shape, which could lead to a transitional process, in which a new government, representing the interests and aspirations of the people, can be born. The US and Russia need to put real pressure on the warring parties, especially the regime forces and their allies, the Iran-sponsored militias of Hezbollah and others from Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan to respect the ceasefire and open the roads they have blocked and allow humanitarian aid to reach the starving communities in the besieged towns."

In conclusion, the Gulf News, said that as millions of Muslims climb to the Mountain of Mercy in Makkah today, and more than a billion Muslims celebrate Eid tomorrow, "We pray that Syria will celebrate the next Eid as a united, peaceful and prosperous country."