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16 October 2018


UN to vote on Syria ceasefire deal

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The UN Security Council is to vote on a Russian resolution endorsing the ceasefire agreement in Syria.

The draft text calls for rapid access for the delivery of humanitarian aid throughout Syria.

It also expresses support for a political process to end the conflict, with talks between the government and opposition, brokered by Russia and Turkey, due in Kazakhstan next month.

The ceasefire, which began just over a day ago, has held in most places.

However, some clashes and air strikes were reported and a number of rebel groups told Reuters news agency on Saturday they would consider the truce "null and void" if attacks continued. It was not clear which rebel groups issued the warning.

The ceasefire deal applies across Syria but does not cover certain rebel groups including the jihadists of so-called Islamic State (IS) and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS), and the Kurdish YPG militia.

The Russian UN resolution comes against a backdrop of deadlock among the veto-wielding members of the Security Council, with Russia supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the US, UK and France insisting he must step down as part of any deal to end the war.

Russia and Turkey also back opposite sides in the conflict, with Turkey supporting the rebellion against Mr Assad.

This deal was declared before it was done and dusted. Seven groups said to have signed up include Ahrar al-Sham, which Moscow and Damascus have always described as terrorists. Ahrar al-Sham says it has "reservations". Do they have anything to do with backers like Saudi Arabia and Qatar?

But a new top table has been forged before a new US president enters the scene. Russia is confirmed as the foreign force which matters. Turkey displaced the US as kingmaker on the other side. It has bargaining chips and, most of all, wants to stop the sway of Syrian Kurdish forces, who are US allies.

Many opposition fighters will welcome a pause after their stinging defeat in Aleppo. But they and Turkey still want President Assad to step down. That conflicts with Iran, the other key player, as well as Mr Assad's own circles. But that's for the next round in this new great game which could be talks in Astana, in Russia's orbit.

Date
2016.12.31 / 14:56
Author
Axar.az
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