Weakening Ceasefire Deal Lacks Transparency

Clashes and airstrikes are being repeatedly reported in multiple areas around the country and has prompted rebel groups to issue a statement.  In a statement reportedly signed by several rebel groups:  “Continued violations by the regime and bombardment and attempts to attack areas under the control of the revolutionary factions will make the agreement null and void.”  Airstrikes are reported northwest of the capital.

A ceasefire was brokered by Turkey and Russia who are also acting as it’s guarantors as well.  However, there appears to be little in the current agreement this time that hasn’t been in previous failed ceasefire agreements based upon the statements of the participants.  In addition to that there has been no official release of the actual signed agreement leading to much speculation and finger pointing on both sides.

Which of the groups actually signed the agreement is currently unknown.  It is certain that the group Jabha Fath Sham (JFS) was not one of the signatories.  However the status of Ahrar Sham, who is another major player in the region, is not known.  Initially it was reported that they had signed the deal, then reported that they did not.  Did they sign the agreement or did they simply say that they will honor the agreement?  It is not clear.  Does the agreement include the powerful JFS group?  Rebels say that the agreement includes all of the rebel factions including JFS (excluding ISIS), however the Syrian military said that the agreement does not include either of them.

In addition to this, a political process to end the hostilities was to be further negotiated.  The fate of embattled president Bashar Assad has been a red line for both sides.  For the rebel side, his remaining in power in any way is a non starter.  For the regime, it too is non-negotiable that anyone except Assad would continue to lead the nation.

A seeming lack of transparency on both sides may lead to another failed ceasefire leaving the the entire “peace process” in doubt.

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