US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the agreement early Saturday for a “genuine reduction of violence”, beginning at sundown and the start of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. The ceasefire is supposed to allow aid to parts of Syria’s largest city Aleppo and besieged towns.Since the announcement, Russia and the Assad regime have bombed intensively, especially in northwest Syria. More than 160 people were killed on Saturday, and another 58 died on Sunday, according to the pro-opposition Local Coordination Committees. Both pro-Assad forces and rebels have tried to make gains on the ground. On Sunday, rebels took the village of Kawkab in their offensive in northern Hama Province, and they announced another offensive in Quneitra Province in southwestern Syria over the weekend.
The Syrian military and allies tried to take territory in northern Latakia Province in western Syria, putting more pressure on neighboring opposition-held Idlib Province. On Sunday, Iran — the Assad regime’s main ally alongside Russia — announced its support of the US-Russian deal.
However, the Syrian opposition is sceptical, believing that Russia and Damascus would control aid routes to allow assistance into regime-held districts and keep opposition-held areas hostage. They also question if Russia will ensure a halt to regime airstrikes on designated areas.
No rebel group has accepted the ceasefire. Reports circulated on Sunday that the leading rebel faction Ahrar al-Sham had rejected the arrangement. www.mesop.de