Russian President Vladimir Putin announced, during a televised meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, that documents relating to a cease-fire have been signed by Syrian opposition groups and the government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Lyndnon LaRouche commented, Thursday, that the deal is insecure. “It can’t be counted on, because Obama is not nailed down,” he said.
“Reports have just arrived,” Putin said at the outset of the meeting, “that several hours ago there was a development that we all have looked and worked for for so long. Three documents have been signed. A ceasefire between the Syrian government and the armed opposition is one. A package of measures to control the ceasefire is another. There is also a declaration of readiness to enter peace talks on Syrian conflict settlement.” Russia, Turkey, and Iran undertook commitments to guarantee a peaceful settlement in Syria. The deal is the result of Russia’s cooperation with partners in the region, Putin emphasized.
Putin was clear that the really hard work is now beginning.
“No doubt, the agreements reached are fragile and demand special attention and assistance with the goal of preservation and development. But nevertheless, this is a notable result of our joint work, efforts of the Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, and our partners in the regions,” he said. “As we understand very well, all the agreements reached are very fragile, they demand special attention and patience, a professional approach to these issues, and a constant contact with our partners,” Putin stressed.
According to the Kremlin transcript, Shoigu presented Putin with a list of the armed opposition groups that have agreed to the ceasefire, subsequently published on the Defense Ministry website, and a map of their distribution. He reported that the Defense Ministry, with Turkey acting as mediator, spent two months in negotiations with the commanders of these seven groups, which are composed of some 60,000 fighters.
Lavrov reported that the Foreign Ministry will take steps to ensure that the package of agreements that was signed be disseminated as official UN Security Council documents, and that Security Council members are briefed and their questions answered.
“It is important to increase the number of guarantor countries, and we therefore want at this stage to invite our Egyptian colleagues to join these agreements,” Lavrov said. “Later, at subsequent stages, we could probably get other key countries with influence on events in Syria involved too, countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iraq, and Jordan.”
In Damascus, the Syrian Arab Army’s General Command announced a “comprehensive” cessation of hostilities to take effect at midnight tonight, local time.
“The Command added that the terrorist organizations of Jabhat al-Nusra and the ISIS and the groups affiliated to them are excluded from the agreement, pointing out that the ceasefire comes with the aim of creating suitable circumstances for supporting the political track of the crisis in Syria,” reported SANA. The signers on the opposition side, as reported by the Russian Defense Ministry, include Ahrar al Sham and Jaish al Islam, the two largest groups, as well as five smaller groups: Jaish al-Mujahideen, Faylak al-Sham, Suvar al-Sham, Jaish Idlib, and Jabhat al-Shamiya.