Damascus Syria

Syrian Rebels Backtrack on Endorsement of Ceasefire

by Jason Ditz

Yesterday, the Syrian rebel faction the “High Negotiations Council” (HNC) announced that it intended to abide by the ceasefire deal announced by the US and Russia. Today, they have backed off of that, saying they support the idea in theory, but haven’t committed to it.

Instead, the group says that they are willing to accept a separate two-week ceasefire as opposed to this open-ended one, to see if everyone is “serious.” They also rejected the idea of Russia being one of the nations negotiating the ceasefire.

The Syrian government has confirmed they are going to abide by the ceasefire, and today the Kurdish YPG also affirmed their intention to go along with the deal. Other rebel factions not part of the Saudi-backed HNC have not gone public about their intentions.

Officials say that factions have until noon Friday to announce whether or not they intend to take part in the ceasefire. It’s not clear what will happen to factions that don’t endorse the deal, though the terms explicitly exclude both ISIS and al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, meaning fighting will continue against them at least.