Local Ceasefire Agreements In Syria: Capitulation To Regime’s Siege-And-Starvation Strategy Under UN Sponsorship

MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Report No. 1221

By: N. Mozes* – Introduction – For over two years, the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has been implementing a policy of siege and starvation in areas of Syria where it encountered harsh resistance by armed opposition forces. But the main victim of this policy has been the unarmed civilian population. While it weakens the opposition forces, this strategy is also aimed at exhausting the civilian support and causing it to reject these opposition forces, which the regime can leverage to pressure the opposition into signing local ceasefire agreements. The regime calls these agreements, which are de facto surrender by the opposition forces, “national reconciliations” or “local reconciliations.”

Assad himself said in December 2015 that the reconciliations are obtained when the armed opposition members “hand over their weapons and return to their normal lives, and the government pardons them.” One notable example of this strategy is the January 2014 ceasefire between the regime and opposition forces across large parts of the Old City of Homs that were heavily besieged by the regime. According to reports by opposition elements, the regime regularly violates these agreements, bombing and besieging areas where it had agreed to maintain a ceasefire, whenever it needs to and in accordance with its progress on the ground. Read all http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/8971.htm