Syrian opposition says not confident truce will last

Mr. George Sabra, Vice President of the Syrian Coalition & President of the Syrian National Council
Mr. George Sabra, Vice President of the Syrian Coalition & President of the Syrian National Council

A Syrian opposition politician said on Wednesday he did not have great confidence that a ceasefire brokered by the United States and Russia would last longer than a previous truce that temporarily curbed the fighting earlier this year.

That truce, agreed in February, unraveled over a period of weeks, with each side blaming the other for violations. “There is not great confidence that this truce can last longer than the previous one,” George Sabra told Reuters.

The ceasefire, which went into effect on Monday, has led to a significant reduction in violence. The US-Russian agreement aims to allow for humanitarian aid deliveries and a resumption of political talks towards ending the five-year-long war.

Sabra blamed the Syrian government’s insistence on controlling aid for obstructing its delivery.

“The regime is still insisting that the aid deliveries go through it,” Sabra said in a telephone interview. “This is unacceptable.”

Sabra said it was too early to talk about resuming peace talks, and that this hinged on the implementation of humanitarian clauses of a UN resolution passed last year.

“Any dates given now for resuming the peace talks are not serious at all,” he said.

He cited free access for aid agencies as one factor that would help facilitate the resumption of political talks. “The stability of the truce could open the door to resuming the political process,” Sabra also said.

The “truce suffers from a lack of mechanisms to implement it on the ground” and the lack of any system to punish violations, he said.

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