UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s comments that the ceasefire in Syria is holding “by and large” highlight the fragility of the entire situation.
While the ceasefire that came into effect on Friday has undoubtedly caused a decrease in violence, both sides have accused the other of breaching the terms. Turkish troops have been reinforcing their border defences, and Russian airstrikes continue to target regions within Syria they claim are held by Islamic State, who are exempt from the ceasefire.
“We are not facing a violation of the truce . . . we are facing a complete nullification,” Asaad al-Zoubi of Syria’s main opposition party said.
Tensions arising from both sides of the agreement have the potential to bring down potential peace talks which, along with providing humanitarian aid to civilians, were the purpose of the ceasefire.
Should that tension prove enough to fully breach the terms of the ceasefire, US Secretary of State John Kerry said last week that “plan B” would be to partition the country. If there is truth behind the accusations made by Russia, it would seem that Secretary Kerry’s plan may be the only viable option left.
Witnesses on the ground in Syria claim that Russian air strikes are still causing havoc, despite initial promises from Russia that they would only target areas controlled by terrorist groups such as IS and al-Nusra.
With such wide speculation over the strength of the ceasefire, peace talks may not provide anything meaningful, but Mr Ban Ki-Moon highlighted how it allows humanitarian aid to reach those in need.
By Jamie Concannon