Syria support group aims for temporary truce in a week


Trying to secure a ceasefire for the civil war in Syria has not succeeded so far with the peace talks put on hold. However, diplomats of the International Syrian Support Group (ISSG) have agreed to try to work out details and implement a temporary truce in the coming week.

While the foreign ministers from the International Syria Support Group managed to seal an agreement to “accelerate and expand” deliveries of humanitarian aid to the Syrian communities impacted by the war, their failure to agree on a ceasefire of resuming peace talks has been a setback. There was no clarity from their comments on whether there were deep differences regarding the truce and which groups would be eligible for it.

Speaking for the group, US Secretary of State John Kerry hailed the results as a significant accomplishment.  However, he said that a cessation-of-hostilities agreement, if it can be achieved, would only be a temporary progress in fighting and that more work would need to be done to turn it into a fully-fledged ceasefire.

“The real test is whether or not all the parties honour those commitments and implement them,” Mr Kerry said in his address to the media after a marathon six-hour meeting at Munich, which went on till the early hours of February 12.

The humanitarian access is critical to relieving the suffering of millions of Syrians in the short term. However, a ceasefire would be needed if stalled negotiations between Syria’s President Bashar Assad’s government and the opposition are to resume on or before February 25, the date set by UN. The talks broke down in the last week of January before even taking off, due largely to gains by Assad’s military with the heavy backing of Russian air strikes.

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