The ceasefire agreement in Syria was put into force at 2200 GMT Friday and the warring parties in Syria said they will commit to it, according to a US-Russian plan.
Both the Syrian government and the opposition said they will halt all operations during the ceasefire period. Fighting mostly ceased in western and northern Syria. Russia also announced it will halt its strikes over Syria Saturday against the groups included in the ceasefire.
The agreement does not include the “Islamic State” (IS) or Al-Nusra Front militants. Both Moscow and the Syrian government said they will not stop strikes against the terror groups. The UN urged all sides to commit to the ceasefire.
According to the agreement, aid will also be delivered to besieged areas in Syria. The agreement however is still fragile since the warring parties did not sign it themselves but rather was agreed between the US and Russia.
Member of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces Mohammed Bassam Al-Malek considered the deal to be “fragile” due to the complex situation on the ground.
While identification of IS-controlled sites is not very difficult, Al-Nusra Front territories overlap with other locations controlled by the moderate opposition. “How can the Russian air jets differentiate between our locations and those of Al-Nusra?” Al-Malek asked, stressing that the opposition would respond if struck.
Al-Malek believes Russia wishes to solve the crisis as soon as possible and is pressuring the regime to accept the political solution. “Russia wants to safeguard its interests in Syria but does not want to fall into the quagmire of war,” he said.
The opposition regards the ceasefire as a test to determine whether it is sufficient to return to the UN peace talks. The war in Syria is reaching a point where world powers are uniting to try to find an acceptable political and military solution.
“Let’s pray that this works because frankly this is the best opportunity we can imagine the Syrian people has had for the last five years to see something better and hopefully something related to peace,” UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura said Friday. He is planning to restore the peace talks for 7 March if the cease fire is respected.
Russian president Vladimir Putin confirmed the continuation of strikes against IS and other terror groups.