Assad regime unilaterally announces end of Syria truce
Syria’s Assad regime on Monday unilaterally announced the end of a cease-fire -- sponsored by the U.S. and Russia -- that came into effect on Sept. 12 to mark the recently-ended Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday.
"The Syrian army’s general command saw the cease-fire as an opportunity to end the bloodshed, but armed terrorist groups failed to comply with the terms of the truce," read a statement carried by the regime’s official SANA news agency.
"Terrorist [i.e., armed opposition] groups have committed 300 breaches of the cease-fire agreement," SANA reported, asserting that the Syrian regime had "exercised the highest degree of restraint in the face of the violations… but in some cases was compelled to respond".
In the statement, the regime goes on to stress its determination to "continue… the fight against terrorism with a view to restoring Syria’s security and stability".
One week ago, Damascus announced that the U.S./Russia-brokered cease-fire had gone into effect across the war-torn country.
SANA reported last Monday that the truce had begun at 7:00 p.m. local time (1600GMT) and would continue until 11.59 p.m. local time (2059GMT) on Sept. 18.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the time described the deal as a "turning point" that could lead to "a negotiated peace and a political transition in Syria".
In Washington, the State Department said Monday that the U.S. is willing to extend the cease-fire "while working to strengthen it and expand deliveries of assistance.
"We will be consulting with our Russian counterparts to continue to urge them to use their influence on Assad to these ends," spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. "While we have seen comments attributed to the Syrian military, our arrangement is with Russia, which is responsible for the Syrian regime's compliance, so we expect Russia to clarify their position."
The cease-fire applied to all armed groups in Syria, with the exception of the Daesh terrorist group and the Nusra Front, which recently changed its name to the Fateh al-Sham Front.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests -- which erupted as part of the Arab Spring uprisings -- with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, more than a quarter of a million people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced across the war-battered country, according to UN figures.
However, the Syrian Center for Policy Research, an NGO until recently based in Damascus, has put the total death toll from conflict at more than 470,000.
Last Modified: 2016-09-20 12:57:05
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