There is now a glimmer of hope for Syria’s future. This evening of 9/9/16, there has been an official announcement of a Syrian peace agreement reached between US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov. The Syrian peace negotiations in Geneva began again in earnest around mid April 2016. The UN’s special envoy, Staffan de Mistura, was also a participant in the discussions along with Syria’s government head representative, Bashar al-Jaafan.
They have concurred on a plan to have all hostilities end on Monday, September 12, 2016. Both Russia and the US will be joining forces to fight ISIS and similar type groups. The press releases about this ceasefire have avoided the subject of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad future status.
This evening (9/9/16) BBC News has posted this breaking news, “Syrian conflict: US and Russia agree peace moves.” The following are some excerpts:
“Under the plan, the Syrian government will end combat missions in specified areas held by the opposition.”
“Russia and the US will establish a joint center to combat so-called Islamic State and al-Nusra fighters.”
“The plan would need both the regime and opposition “to meet their obligations”, Mr Kerry said in Geneva.”
“The opposition had indicated it was prepared to comply with the plan, he said, provided the Syrian government “shows it is serious”.
“Mr Lavrov said Russia had informed the Syrian government about the arrangements and the Syrian government was “ready to fulfil them.”
“The accord also provides for humanitarian access.”
“The cessation of hostilities requires access to all besieged and hard-to-reach areas, including Aleppo”, Mr Kerry said.”
Seven days after the start of the cessation of hostilities, Russia and the US will establish a “joint implementation center” to fight the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda-allied Nusra fighters.
“Mr Lavrov said the joint implementation center would allow Russian and US forces to “separate the terrorists from the moderate opposition.”
“He said there would be coordinated strikes against the terrorists by the Russian and US air forces, and that in some areas, that excluded action by the Syrian air force.”
“We have agreed on the areas where such coordinated strikes would be taking place, and in those areas, on neutral agreement shared by the Syrian government as well, only the Russian and US air force will be functional,” he said.”
“But Mr. Lavrov added that “the Syrian air force will be functional in other areas, outside those that we have singled out for Russian-American military co-operation.”
“The deal is hugely complex, the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent James Landale who has been following the talks in Geneva says.”
“It requires an awful lot of people to do an awful lot of things at the right time at the right place, he adds.”
“But Mr. Lavrov and Mr. Kerry stressed that the plan could pave the way for a political transition.”
“The plan is more prescriptive and far reaching than any proposal to date and if implemented by all sides could allow political negotiations to take place on Syria’s future,” Mr. Kerry said.”
“The United Nations envoy to Syria, Stefan de Mistura, welcomed the agreement and said the UN would exert all efforts to deliver humanitarian aid.”
UPDATE ON 10/19/16: The ceasefire agreement fell apart within days. Russia and Syria’s President Assad’s regime failed to comply in good faith. For now, it seems like peace within Syria will not be possible within the near future.