On Friday, July 7, Jordan, Russia and the U.S. agreed upon the de-escalation zones in Deraa, Quneitra and Suweida provinces in southwest Syria. The truce came into effect on July 9, noon Damascus time. According to the sources of Inside Syria Media Center, no violations of the ceasefire have been registered.
The UN welcomed the agreement. “This is a significant step towards reducing violence and increasing humanitarian access across Syria. It is in line with the pursuit of the goal of a comprehensive, nationwide ceasefire that has been endorsed by multiple Security Council resolutions,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.
The ceasefire was also praised in the armed opposition. However, according to Chief of Staff of the so-called ‘Free Syrian Army’ Ahmed Berri, Bashar al-Assad’s opponents seek a comprehensive truce not just in several areas but also across the whole country.
Such a stance shows the opposition experiences quite a number of issues. And it’s not surprising as along with the pressure of the Syrian army, it is being affected by inner problems. Thus, on July 2, it was reported that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham group arrested more than 100 people in Idlib for participating in Euphrates Shield on the side of the Turkish army. On July 6, clashes between the fighters of the group and Jaish al-Islam took place in Eastern Ghouta. These are not the only recent conflicts between the terrorists.
Obviously, as the SAA advances, there will be more and more such accidents. That is why Ahmed Berri wants a comprehensive ceasefire, to have a chance to preserve what’s left of unity.
A truce across the whole Syria shall be a long-waited resolution for all Syrians as the war affects everyone. Unfortunately, it’s hard to say how the opposition will act because it can use the truce for regrouping and provocations like in September, 2016.
In any case, the fragile ceasefire in southwest Syria bears a hope of the return of peace and may become a groundwork for the crisis’ diplomatic solution.