Entries in Ceasefire (20)


New Syria Peace Plan Comes from China

JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images(BEIJING) -- China has decided it too wants a shot at trying to find a solution to the 19-month long conflict in Syria between government and rebel forces that shows no signs of ending.

On his visit to Beijing Thursday, United Nations and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi was presented with a Chinese plan that would begin with a phased-in ceasefire coupled with a transitional authority that runs the country until a permanent regime is created.

Chinese leaders also recommended that the international community step up and deal with the growing humanitarian crisis in Syria as Damascus, Aleppo and other cities remain under siege.

While this sort of framework to end the long civil war has been proposed before, it is significant for Beijing to offer a plan since it, along with Moscow, have remained steadfast allies of President Bashar al-Assad.

However, with al-Assad having lost favor with most Middle East states -- Iran being the exception -- China seems to be taking a pragmatic long view of how its support for the current Syrian regime could affect relations with other countries going forward.

Nonetheless, the plan from China’s Foreign Ministry does not call for al-Assad's removal, something the West and Arab governments have demanded if the bloody conflict is to really come to an end. 

Since March 2011, it's believed as many as 35,000 people have died because of war-related violence with countless others also having been displaced.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Quick Cessation of Syrian Ceasefire

Scott Peterson/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- The temporary ceasefire in Syria brokered by the United Nations and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi was broken before the ink had barely dried on the pact between President Bashar al-Assad's government and rebel forces.

Both sides had agreed to a four-day armistice that was to have begun last Friday at the beginning of the religious holiday Eid al-Adha.

Within hours, there were reports of violence as each side blamed the other for violating the truce. By Sunday morning, the ceasefire was all but obliterated as government war jets bombarded rebel strongholds on Damascus' outskirts.

Fighting was also reported at the usual hot spots around Syria as the death toll started mounting again on Sunday.  It's estimated that well over 30,000 have been killed in the conflict dating back to March 2011.

Brahimi is expected to present new proposals to the U.N. Security Council next month in another attempt to find a way to end the fighting.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Syria Tries a Ceasefire in Time for Eid al-Adha Holiday

Scott Peterson/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- United Nations and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has got his wish for a temporary ceasefire in Syria, but will he soon wish that he hadn't gone through all the trouble if it doesn't hold up?

On Thursday, the Syrian government issued a statement that "Military operations will cease across the entire Syrian territory on 26 October until 29 October," which covers the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

However, Damascus also issued the caveat that it has the option "to reply to terrorists attacks, attempts of armed groups to reinforce or resupply, or attempts to infiltrate from neighboring countries."

That leaves it wide open for the four-day armistice to easily fall apart if President Bashar al-Assad's forces believe they're being threatened by rebel groups, who've expressed skepticism about their enemy's true intentions.

Previous attempts at ceasefires have failed but Brahimi believes this one could work, given that he not only talked to both sides in the conflict but neighboring countries also gave their blessings to his efforts.

Since the conflict began in March 2011, activists contend that as many as 35,000 people have died although independent confirmations are impossible.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ceasefire Now Possible in Syria

Scott Peterson/Getty ImagesUPDATE: The army has issued a statement agreeing to a “cessation of military operations” from Friday until Monday during Eid al-Adha. But there are three conditions: they reserve the right to respond to “armed terrorist groups” that fire on civilians and government forces, attack private and public property, or use car bombs and IEDs. Also, rebels can’t use the ceasefire to re-supply or re-arm, and opposition fighters can’t come across the borders.

(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- There were mixed signals from the Middle East Wednesday about a possible ceasefire in Syria that would occur during the Eid al-Adha holiday beginning Friday.

United Nations and Arab League special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi announced in Cairo that Damascus and most of the rebel groups that support the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had agreed to a temporary armistice.

However, the Syrian foreign minister later said that no deal had been definitively reached and that an announcement would come Thursday about a final decision.

The roadblock to a possible four-day ceasefire in Syria may come from military generals opposed to letting up on rebel forces, who control wide areas of the country as well as parts of the key cities of Damascus and Aleppo.

Previous attempts to ensure ceasefires have failed to hold.  The conflict has raged since mid-March 2011, with an estimated 30,000 people killed although the number could be much higher.

If al-Assad's forces and rebels do maintain a temporary peace, Brahimi is expected to try to seek longer ceasefires.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Israel, Hamas Agree to 'Unofficial Ceasefire'

Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images(GAZA CITY) -- After days of deadly fighting, Israel and Hamas have agreed to "unofficial ceasefire," BBC News reports.

The fighting between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militants who control Gaza, had worsened in recent days, forcing schools on both sides to close, according to BBC News. Earlier in the week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was prepared to defend itself against any attacks aimed at the country.

"We didn't ask for this escalation and didn't initiate it. But if it continues, we are prepared to embark on a far mor extensive and penetrating operation," he said, according to BBC.

The terms and length of the ceasefire, negotiated with the help of Egypt, are unknown.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


No Sign Yet of Syrian Ceasefire Agreement

Scott Peterson/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- The last time Syria attempted a ceasefire was back in April and it was only hours before both sides were fighting again.

Lakhdar Brahimi, the special United Nations and Arab League envoy, is working hard on a plan to create a four-day armistice that would begin this Friday during the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.

Despite Brahimi's efforts, there's still no word on whether it will happen even after he met Sunday with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.  Earlier, the career diplomat held talks with Syria's foreign minister as well as opposition forces who've been targeted by the president's military over the past 19 months.

It's estimated that over 30,000 people have been killed since March 2011, but the actual figure could be substantially higher since there is no way for outsiders to verify the real death toll.

Al-Assad has resisted agreeing to a ceasefire as he previously said his mission is to completely crush those opposed to his regime.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


UN Envoy Warns of Spread of Syria's Violence

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(BEIRUT) -- Desperate to forge an agreement that would mean a four-day respite from violence in Syria, the United Nation's special envoy warned on Wednesday that the 19-month conflict is on the verge of spilling over into the entire region.

Lakhdar Brahimi, who was in Beirut to present his plan to Lebanese leaders, said, "This crisis cannot remain within Syrian borders indefinitely.  Either it will be addressed or it will increase...and be all-consuming."

An estimated 30,000 people have been killed since March 2011 and the death toll has increased exponentially over the past two months, with at least 1,000 fatalities reported per week.

Brahimi has been traveling through the Middle East getting the Arab League and Iran to sign off on his plan calling for a ceasefire in Syria over four days during the Islamic feast holiday of Eid al-Adha beginning next week.

As for the main parties, Brahimi suggested that President Bashar al-Assad is leaning towards the temporary armistice but worries that opposition forces won't abide by it.  Conversely, the rebels have said they'd agree but doubt that government forces will keep the peace.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


UN Envoy Trying to Negotiate Temporary Syrian Ceasefire

ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- Talks are currently underway with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government to observe a four-day ceasefire over the Eid al-Adha Muslim holiday at the end of October that would provide a brief respite from the fighting between the Syrian military and rebel forces that has resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of lives.

The discussions were initiated by United Nations special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who apparently has had conversations with other leaders in the Arab world to explore the feasibility of the plan.

Signs of a breakthrough were evident Tuesday as an official with the Syrian foreign ministry announced, "The Syrian side is interested in exploring this option and we are looking forward to talking to Mr. Brahimi to see what is the position of other influential countries that he has talked to in his tour."

Syria says other governments have to put pressure on the rebels to accept the terms of any ceasefire proposal.

Whether anything will come of it is uncertain since two previous attempts at an armistice during the course of the 19-month long conflict only intensified the government's crackdown on opposition forces.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


UN Monitors Halt Mission to Check Compliance of Syrian Ceasefire Pact

JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- The decision by the United Nations to suspend its observer mission in Syria because of safety concerns has angered opponents of President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Initially, the monitors were sent in to check on the implementation of the six-point ceasefire crafted by special emissary Kofi Annan.  However, the failure of the plan to be carried out, particularly by government forces, left Gen. Robert Mood, who heads the U.N. supervision mission in Syria, no other recourse but to pull the observers out of the country.

In response to the move, the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria said in a statement, "The decision of the U.N. supervision mission in Syria to suspend the monitoring mission represents a failure of...the international community to effectively and responsibly deal with the situation in Syria."

Furthermore, the LCC said that the suspension suggests the U.N. has no backup plan, which "allows for more bloodshed and enables the regime to buy more time under international cover."

Al-Assad's government contends that the ceasefire didn't work because of "armed terrorist groups" bent on disrupting his nation's social order.

The crackdown on political dissidents began in March 2011 and by estimates of Syrian opposition groups, anywhere between 12,000 and 14,000 people have died in the fighting.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Syrian Ceasefire Pact in Tatters, US Worries Conflict Could Escalate

JOSEPH EID/AFP/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- United Nations special emissary Kofi Annan's appeal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to take "bold steps" to end the violence in his country has fallen on deaf ears.

With no guarantee from al-Assad that the 15-month-long crackdown on his enemies would stop, Annan left Damascus on Wednesday with his six-point ceasefire plan in virtual tatters.

A massacre of more than 100 villagers in the central Syrian town of Houla late last week has galvanized world opinion against al-Assad's government, but without muscle to back it up, the fighting on both sides continues unabated.  There was also a report Wednesday of U.N. observers discovering the bodies of 13 people who were killed execution-style.

With Annan having flown to Jordan, the U.N. Security Council received a briefing from one of Annan's deputies about the lack of progress made since the ceasefire pact went into effect on April 12.

Afterwards, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said the breakdown of any coherent plan to stop the violence that has accounted for anywhere between 9,000 and 12,000 deaths since March 2011 could escalate into a wider sectarian conflict that would draw in Syria's neighbors, turning it into a major regional war.

Despite the threat of putting more pressure on al-Assad to end the violence, Rice acknowledged that some within the U.N. Security Council are reluctant to impose more sanctions on Syria.  The likely opponents are al-Assad's allies, Russia and China.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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