The Syrian government of President Bashar al- Assad implemented a ceasefire Thursday that could pave the way to end the six-year civil war, but one that does not cover the Islamic State and Al Qaeda terror groups.
This was the highlight of the ceasefire agreement that was agreed by Russia and Turkey, covers the cessation of hostilities with the rebel groups by halting airstrikes and bombings. Russia and Turkey have also agreed to exert efforts to start the peace negotiations between the rebel forces and the Syrian government.
Ahmad Ramadan of the Syrian National Coalition said that they will abide by the ceasefire, but points out that the rebels will retaliate in the event that government troops will violate the agreement or will launch an attack counter to the conditions of the truce.
Both Russia and Turkey are in the forefront of mediating peace talks and it would seem like the United States has been sidelined in the process. This may also be the reason behind the move since the current Obama administration maintains a different stand from that of president-elect Donald Trump regarding US involvement in the war.
Obama maintains that al - Assad steps down from the presidency to pay for crimes against the Syrian people. The US supported the rebel forces that were fighting against the regime.
In contrast, Trump has been critical of the handling of the Syrian Civil war by the Obama administration and the involvement of the US. Trump has been open in saying that he believes al-Assad, together with Russia, can be a strategic ally by the United States in the fight against the Islamic State and other terror groups.
Leading to the ceasefire, on the other hand, are the renewed relations between Russia and Turkey, which the latter began to reconsider after the retaking of Aleppo, where both countries played key roles for Syria to take full control from rebel forces. Negotiations were also successful in granting safe passage to evacuate civilians from the embattled zones.
Almost half a million people have been killed in the Syrian Civil War since it started six years back. There have been 4.8 million Syrians who fled the country and 6.3 million more displaced within Syria as a result of the war.
There are now around 13.5 million Syrians who are being provided with humanitarian assistance, while the United States has already accepted 10,000 refugees into the United States.