Ceasefire Now Possible in Syria

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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.

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