Syria Truce Holds, Aid Preparations In The Works As Violence Drastically Decreases

There has been an entire day without any deaths or war casualties between President Bashar al-Assad and opponents due to a ceasefire that held off continued combat. A monitoring group reports that efforts to deliver assistance to those under siege is now in the works.

The truce has been in effect for 24 hours and since this time the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura relays that the situation has improved rapidly and notes that aid access should soon become available to several regions, including Aleppo, which is the portion of the city held by rebel forces and is under blockade.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights relays that it has not received any reports of any civilians, rebels, or troops being killed by fighting in the regions that the truce focuses on. The ceasefire that was settled upon between the United States and Russia is also supported by countries that back Assad and opponents. It is the second time this year that an attempt has been made to stop the war that has been a roadblock to peace efforts since the fighting began over five years ago. This also suggests that perhaps Moscow and Washington can work to end a war that Vladimir Putin refueled when he sent warplanes to join the fight on the side of Assad two years ago.

Reuters shares details of the truce and how it developed.

“Moscow and Washington have agreed to share targeting information for strikes against fighters from the jihadist group and the former Syrian branch of al Qaeda, the first time the Cold War foes have fought together since World War Two. The agreement has been accepted by Assad and, far more reluctantly, by most of the groups that oppose him. The international community’s first goal is to deliver aid to civilians in Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city before the war, which has been divided for years and where the opposition area is under siege.”

There were reports by de Mistura in Geneva that there had been claims about isolated incidents. However, he told reporters that there had been a “significant drop in violence” over the past 24 hours. Although there have only been 24 hours of peace, he did add that “sources on the ground… including inside Aleppo city, said the situation has dramatically improved with no air strikes.”

Although convoys from the United Nations have yet to enter Syria, de Mistura stated that if the truce holds up, “[aid] access should be taking place very, very soon,” and that people of Syria can expect “no bombs and more trucks.” They are, however, waiting for Damascus to issue letters authorizing the deliveries for purposes of assistance.

“We are eagerly hoping and expecting the government to issue them very soon.”

As stated, there have been reports of isolated violations of the truce, including a number that occurred in Aleppo city and in the west Homs countryside on Tuesday. Yet, the reports of violence are far less intense and frequent than usual. Russian military members were sent with reconnaissance equipment for the purpose of detecting any attempts at a ceasefire violation, and the military stated that the ceasefire has been observed in Aleppo.

A witness for the publication shared that two aid convoys, which each included 20 trucks, were seen crossing into northern Syria from the Turkish border about 25 miles west of Aleppo. It is not known, due to security concern, how far into Syria the trucks would go. A Turkish official relayed that they were carrying mostly food and flour.

The government of Syria has made it clear that deliveries attempting to enter Aleppo that are not cleared between itself and the United Nations, particularly heading into the nation from Turkey, would be rejected.

[Photo by Dmitry Azarov/Kommersant Photo/Getty Images]

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