Sat, Oct 27, 2012 - Page 7 News List

Fighting ruptures Syrian ceasefire

HOPEFUL:Although some fighters have dismissed the truce, UN agencies have prepared to take advantage of a ceasefire to provide aid to hard-to-access areas

Reuters, BEIRUT

Qassem Saadeddine, head of the military council in Homs province and spokesman for the FSA joint command, said on Thursday his fighters were committed to the truce, but demanded the release of detainees by yesterday morning.

Abu Moaz, spokesman for Ansar al-Islam, which includes several brigades fighting in and around Damascus, said the Islamist group doubted al-Assad’s forces would observe the truce, though it might suspend operations if they did.

“We do not care about this truce. We are cautious. If the tanks are still there and the checkpoints are still there then what is the truce?” he asked.

Brahimi’s predecessor, former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, declared a ceasefire in Syria on April 12, but it soon became a dead letter, along with the rest of his peace plan.

Violence has intensified since then, with daily death tolls compiled by opposition monitoring groups often exceeding 200.

UN aid agencies have geared up to take advantage of any window of opportunity provided by a ceasefire to go to areas hard to access due to fighting, a UN official in Geneva said.

The UN refugee agency UNHCR said it had prepared emergency kits for distribution for up to 13,000 families — an estimated 65,000 people — in Homs and the northeastern city of Hassaka.

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