Last Monday, Washington and Moscow hailed an agreement that would see a temporary cessation of hostilities in Syria.
The ‘ceasefire’ went into effect on Saturday and so far, so good. ‘Clashes and airstrikes across western Syria largely abated Saturday morning, as an internationally backed truce took hold in parts of the country where rebels have been fighting the regime,’ WSJ reported this morning. Although the SAA apparently hit a few rebel positions east of Damascus, overall, ‘it was a calm morning.’
Russia said it would halt all flights over the country for the first 24 hours to avoid ‘mistakes’ in targeting. “Given the entry into force of the U. N. Security Council resolution that supports the Russian-American agreements on a ceasefire, and to avoid any possible mistakes when carrying out strikes, Russian military planes, including long-range aviation, are not carrying out any flights over Syrian territory on Feb. 27,” the Defense Ministry said.
By ‘mistakes’ Moscow means hitting anyone other than al-Nusra or ISIS, who are not included in the agreement. Rebels, not to mention analysts, have argued that Russia and Hezbollah will be able to use al-Nusra as an excuse to continue the offensive against anti-Assad elements. While the ISIS presence is concentrated in eastern Syria, al-Nusra has positions in Aleppo City, the Jabal Turkman region of Northeastern Latakia, the Jabal Zawiya region in Southern Idlib Province, and the Quneitra Province along the Golan Heights. Just to name a few. That effectively means Russia can bomb anywhere along the country’s urban backbone in the west and claim to be targeting the group, which, you’re reminded, is an offshoot of al-Qaeda.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on 02/27/2016.