shopify analytics ecommerce

SYRIA: Tense cease-fire – with a finger on the trigger

By  |  0 Comments

Spread skirmishes were reported on Thursday as UN envoy Kofi Annan’s plan for peace in Syria kicked into effect and the deadline for cease-fire was passed.

A tense calm descended over the region’s violence that has left around 9,000 people dead the last year.

From the White House in Washington DC came a threat on Wednesday saying that Syrian forces “clearly did not begin their withdrawal” from rebel strongholds as promised, the USA Today reported. On Thursday, Kofi Annan struck brighter tone from his Geneva office, saying that “I am encouraged by reports that the situation in Syria is relatively quiet and that the cessation of hostilities appears to be holding”.

In Syria, president Assad’s political opposition, the Syrian National Council, said government forces had carried out arrests and raids among members of the council, which claimed that military had not returned to their barracks as stated by the cease-fire agreement. There were also reports about scattered fire by tanks and at least one person shot dead, though the information could not be confirmed.

A spokesman for the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in Britain, said to the New York Times a few hours after the deadline has passed that “it is quiet in every region”, adding that “a few explosions” had been heard in the town of Zabadani just outside Damascus.

But while the cease-fire is fragile, the overall picture on Thursday was if not bright so at least a few tones less black compared to the months of violence and bombardment of civilians and opposition in Syria.

From Geneva, UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon acted to dispatch a group of observers to Syria in an effort to make the cease-fire more stable and permanent, and to keep the country from descending into chaos. “I really like to see this ceasefire continue to be sustained. It just (happened) today that they stopped the fighting. We are following it very closely. The world is watching, however, with skeptical eyes since previous promises made by the government of Syria have not been kept,” Ban told reporters according to the Jerusalem Post.



The editor of the Traveling Reporter works as a business news editor, and is a frequent traveler. When not doing any of that, he spends time on his boat and tries to figure out where to travel next. Two of his top destinations are the Philippines and San Francisco. Email Erik! Follow the Traveling Reporter at Stumbleupon, Tumblr, Chime In, Pinterest, Google+, Weibo, Storify, Facebook, Traveldudes, Myspace.