The Syrian government and some rebel leaders have agreed to a ceasefire during an upcoming four-day Muslim holiday, the UN-Arab League envoy to Syria announced Wednesday.
Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters in Cairo that the Syrian government has agreed to a truce during the Eid al-Adha holiday, which begins Friday, The Associated Press reported.
Brahimi said Damascus will issue a statement on accepting the truce for the holiday later "today or tomorrow."
Brahimi didn't elaborate on how such a truce would be monitored. The envoy has met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Sunday as part of his push for a ceasefire between rebels and government forces. He also held talks last week with opposition groups inside and outside Syria and earlier received "promises" but not a "commitment" from them to honor the cease-fire.
In Damascus, Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdessi stressed Wednesday that the cessation of military operations during Eid al-Adha is still "being studied" by the General Command of the Army and the Syrian armed forces, and that "the final position on this matter will be issued on Thursday."
Abdelbaset Sieda, the head of the Syrian National Council, the main opposition group in exile, told The Associated Press that he had little hope the truce would take hold. He said opposition fighters have told him they are willing to adhere to it, but will respond if attacked by government forces.
Brahimi's proposal is far more modest than a six-point plan by his predecessor as Syrian envoy, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. A ceasefire was the centerpiece of Annan's proposal and was to lead to talks on a peaceful transition.
On Tuesday, Assad issued an amnesty for all crimes committed in the country "up until today," with the notable exception of "terrorist crimes," state television said on Tuesday.
Assad "decreed a general amnesty for crimes committed before October 23," except for those carried out by "terrorists".
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Damascus says outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorists are the driving factor behind the unrest and deadly violence while the opposition accuses the security forces of being behind the killings.
Western states have been calling for Assad to step down. However, Russia and China are strongly opposed to the Western drive to oust Assad.
The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the armed militants are foreign nationals, mostly from Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan.
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