Syria Daily: A Ceasefire Begins


PHOTO: President Assad talks to a reporter in a photo opportunity in Darayya, the Damascus suburb which surrendered last month after a 45-month siege, on Monday


UPDATE 1215 GMT: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has maintained pressure on the US, accusing it of not pursuing the separation of rebels from the jihadists of Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, formerly Jabhat al-Nusra:

It will be twelve months since [the US assumed the obligation]. Nothing has been done. Moreover, there have been speculations the moderate opposition should not be separated from al-Nusra, but legalized altogether and possibly, merged with ever more groups to create an effective force on the ground for resistance to the Syrian army.

All this will require a very frank discussion.

Lavrov called for the US-Russian agreement to be made public so “there should be no doubts as to how we will go about the business of implementing the agreement”.

UPDATE 1100 GMT: The pro-opposition Aleppo Media Center claims that regime attacks in Aleppo Province killed some civilians and wounded at least 20 this morning.

A pro-regime website says that the Syrian army and Hezbollah fired missiles and artillery shells on positions of the rebel bloc Jaish al-Fatah southwest of Aleppo city.

Citing “local activists”, Al-Masdar said that the attack began after “several enemy mortar shells struck their positions” near the village of al-Hadher. It said the town of Khan Tuman and villages of Qarassi and Kalaseh — taken by rebels since the spring — had been targeted.

The Russian military put out the line that rebels had violated the ceasefire on “23 occasions”, with six people killed in Aleppo overnight and 10 wounded.

The Assad regime is abiding by the ceasefire, Russian General Staff official Viktor Poznikhir said.

He also maintained that Russian troops on the al-Castello road, the main route north of Aleppo, had come under fire as two soldiers ducked in a video feed behind him:

ORIGINAL ENTRY: A ceasefire began across Syria from sundown on Monday, although reports of fighting continued.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who pursued the cessation with Russian Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov, was upbeat in his summary to reporters:

The earliest reports are that there is some reduction in violence as well as a few reports of fighting here and there though it is far too early to draw any definitive conclusions.

There will undoubtedly be reports of violations here or there but that is the nature of the beginning of the ceasefire almost always.

Pro-opposition outlets reported attacks by regime forces. According to Orient News, helicopters dropped barrel bombs north of Aleppo city and a pro-Assad strike hit Taibat al-Imam, captured by rebels in their offensive in northern Hama Province earlier this month.

The site said missiles hit a village east of Damascus. Shelling and mortars reportedly killed one person in the town of Douma.

Journalist Elizabeth Tsurkov reports on a regime attack in southern Syria:

Just before the start of the ceasefire, the regime maintained its escalation of airstrikes from the weekend. At least 13 people were killed and dozens wounded in Ma’aret Mesreen in Idlib Province in northwest Syria, in attacks which reportedly included cluster bombs. At least 11 died in Douma, and 30 were seriously wounded. Towns and villages across northern Homs Province were also attacked.

Rebels shelled the Hama military airport with Grad rockets, although it was unclear if this was before or after the start of the ceasefire.

In Aleppo city, the focus of discussions over a ceasefire and aid efforts, quiet was reported overnight.

The Syrian armed forces claimed that several mortars were fired by rebels in and near Aleppo city, and that rebels attacks attacked military posts in northern Homs Province.


The armed groups breached the truce regime by targeting with sniper and gun fire a military post in Tasnim village at 20: 45 pm and by targeting with machine gun fire military posts in Kfernan northwest of Homs at 21:00 pm on Monday.

Another breach of the truce took place at 22:15 pm on Monday where the armed groups targeted with machine gun fire military posts on Masyaf-Khirbet al-Sawda in the same part of Homs countryside.

The truce regime is applied across Syria for seven days as of 19:00 on September 12th 2016 and until 23:59 on September 18th.

Kerry: Intelligence-Sharing with Russia on Airstrikes

Kerry noted that the US will begin sharing of intelligence with Russia for airstrikes after the first seven days of the ceasefire and the beginning of aid to some besieged areas. He also declared, “As soon as U.S.-Russia strikes begin, then the Syrian regime will be prevented from flying combat missions over areas in which the legitimate opposition is present.”

However, the Secretary of State then fed confusion with his indication that attacks might be carried out against the jihadists of Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, despite the ceasefire. He emphasized that rebels, who fight alongside the jihadists on some battle fronts, must “separate” themselves from JFS/Nusra.

Russia has used the strikes on JFS/Nusra as a pretext to hit opposition areas since its military intervention last September, and it has pressed the US to accept this by saying that rebels must be “separated” from the jihadists.

Kerry even said that the Assad regime, in co-operation with Russia and the US, could attack JFS/Nusra:

[Assad] is allowed and will be able — outside of that area that is set up [which cannot be attacked] — to target Nusra, but that will be on strikes which are agreed upon with Russia and the United States.

State Department spokesman John Kirby was forced to clarify later:

We have seen reports, based on the Secretary’s comments…this afternoon, that the US and Russia could approve of strikes by the Syrian regime. This is incorrect.

The arrangement announced last week makes no provision whatsoever for the US and Russia to approve strikes by the Syrian regime, and this is not something we could ever envision doing. A primary purpose of this agreement from our perspective, is to prevent the Syrian regime air force from flying or striking in any areas in which the opposition or Nusra are present.

Kerry also claimed that the ceasefire is designed to bring the resumption of negotiations on a political transition in Syria — even though President Assad has ruled out any transitional governing authority and his eventual departure from power.

Assad in “Starved and Surrendered” Darayya: “We Have Come for True Freedom”

President Assad speaks to State media during his appearance on Monday in Darayya, the Damascus suburb which recently surrendered after 45 months of siege and bombardment: “We have come here today [for] true freedom, which begins with the restoration of security.”

See Syria Daily, August 26: Darayya Surrenders After 45 Months

Senior UN Official Condemns Regime Human Rights Abuses

The UN Human Rights Commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, condemned the Assad regime for its human rights abuses on Tuesday.

In a speech opening a three-week session of the U.N. Human Rights Council, Zeid said Syria was one of five countries that routinely refused to cooperate with human rights investigators. He continued:

This is a state led by a medical doctor [Bashar al-Assad] and yet is believed to have gassed its own people. It has attacked hospitals and bombed civilian neighborhoods with indiscriminate explosive weapons, and [it] maintains tens of thousands of detainees in inhuman conditions.

Words cannot convey how profoundly I condemn this situation.

Regime Proclaims Downing of Israel “Warplane and Drone”— But There’s No Evidence

The Syrian military has been declaring that it downed an Israeli warplane and drone, but there is no evidence to support the declaration.

Syrian State TV said that a jet fighter was shot down over Quneitra in southwestern Syria, near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, and that a drone was downed closer to Damascus. The military asserted, “This blatant aggression comes a part of Israel’s support for terrorist groups and its attempt to raise their crushed morale after their miserable failure and huge losses in the suburbs of Quneitra.”

The Israel Defense Forces denied the claim: “Two surface-to-air missiles were launched from Syria after the mission overnight to target Syrian artillery positions. At no point was the safety of IDF aircraft compromised.”

Israel has carrying out raids in Quneitra Province in response to cross-border shelling into the Golan Heights.

Earlier Tuesday morning, the IDF said it struck regime artillery positions in response to mortar fire that struck the Golan Heights on Monday, the fifth claimed incident in just over a week.

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  1. When they say “terrorists” will still be targeted, does that include Iran’s puppet group, Hezbollah? Who is officially listed as a terrorist group by the US. When this cease fire fails miserably, as it will do, Kerry should resign.

      • They’re propping up the genocidal dictatorship in the hope that their Iranian masters can continue shipping them weapons with which to launch terror attacks against Israel and their own people. How exactly is it that after the Lebanese Civil War they were the only faction who kept their arms? Seems to violate a ton of agreements. Maybe it’s time for the sunnis and the christians to form their own well armed militias so that Lebanon won’t be subservient to Iran’s imperialist ambitions.

        • Apart from the fact no evidence has emerged of Assad begging for anything, it’s not quite the same thing — the JI-Joe here literally begs the Zionist Netanyahudniks [according to his religious ideology the original and worst kuffar, whom it clearly and strictly forbids him from taking as a friend or protector] for military assistance in fighting the kuffar government of Assad.
          The hypocrisy is beyond stupid level — imagine Assad begging Yankistan to help him fight FSA — and displays a completely mercenary attitude, in that they are desperately hustling to sell themselves in every direction. [the unspoken quid pro quo offered to The Abomination is that a grateful JI-Joe government in Damascus would formally renounce all claims to the stolen Golan.]

          • Yeah, I’m sure Iran came up with the idea to deploy tens of thousands of troops and puppet militias on their own. Ditto for the Russians, who have moved major assets to Syria. LOL. Nice try, comrade.

  2. As a parenthesis to Syrian regime shooting down an IAF plane (because a drone may be)….
    It is a big difference between shooting against a target and shooting it down;shooting down implies proof.And if it was shooting down ,the regime military positions near Golan were now history (by missiles).
    The full agreement of COH was not published! Syrians must agree on something partially unknown! How can be something (not clear) working?

  3. You could ease up on taking Sunni refugees in the west.That would solve problems of the refugees kids turning into terrorists later.Won’t happen though,so get used to chop chop and boom boom stuff.Enrichment comes with a bang sometimes.

  4. We are close to a day were the numbers of civilian casualties is close to zero. I just hope its not the usual good start followed by the usual business. I am not much of an optimist when its down to syrian ceasefires.

  5. Putin Promotes the Next Generation of Ideological Cronies
    Most have extreme Russian Orthodox views which won’t please the non-Russian Orthodox living under Russian controls. This kind of nonsense might have worked in relatively homogenous Nazi Germany but in a Russian empire dominated by such extremists and with a lousy, isolated economy, it will generate centrifugal forces. Putin’s promotion of conservative religion as a “unifying force” will be no more successful than Iran’s promotion of same where mullahs have lost all the popularity they once enjoyed and Iran has more atheists than any Muslim country today as action produces reaction. Putin’s domestic political philosophy is as outdated as his quest for costly, force-based empire, Asymmetrical warfare and suicide bombing has enabled bloody resistance.

  6. The primitive methods of Russian purveyors of false information is unsurprising given their reliance on Goebbels-like techniques.–Z. Brzezinski. Trump uses exactly the same tactics, repeating lies until they become “true.”

    • Question: What is it?
      If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck but denies it’s a duck?!
      Answer:it’s a Russian duck.

  7. Assad has impression that if he is provoking Israel he will have Arabs behind!(or Hezbollah believes it)!
    Another artillery shell from #Syria lands in northern Israel’s Golan Heights. 6 incidents in just over a week.
    Israeli military closed portion of route 98 due to mortar fire from Syria.
    Israel expected to attack even more Assad regime targets on south Syria tonight after mortar strikes intensify today
    According to @yossi_melman Israel warned Assad through Russia to stop the “errant” fire into Israel
    Reports of intensive Israeli aerial activity in Syria’s Quneitra and western Daraa province.
    Israel believes Assad regime purposefully fired into its territory today. Response tonight will be far more broad.
    If it is so , there will be 10-20 Hezbollah fighters announced dead tomorrow!
    Because , probably from last night (Malcolmite ‏@Malcolmite 4h4 hours ago Hezbollah announced the deaths of 4 fighters on Monday )

  8. “Lavrov called for the US-Russian agreement to be made public”
    US does not like !
    Probably it is extremely embarrassing for US …… lol!
    Again very low act of Foreign Policy from US!

    • And where has been Kerry today?
      Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told his counterpart U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday that Turkey supports the ceasefire in Syria and pointed to the violations made by the Assad regime.
      According to foreign ministry sources, Kerry called Çavuşoğlu to thank him for Turkey’s support to the truce in Syria.
      The two ministers discussed a number of issues, and Çavuşoğlu conveyed Turkey’s concern about the U.S. Ambassador John Bass’s recent statements criticizing the dismissal of mayors linked to terror groups.
      It is written in the US-Russia pact that US will persuade Turkey and some Arab States to stop the delivery of” some” weapons to FSA?

      • The Turks, always so self consumed. They are worse than the russians when it comes to a small mans complex.
        Kerry also indicated that if the ceasefire fails that regional actors will be increasing their support for the rebels and there is nothing that the US can do to stop that. We need to keep that little mentioned point in mind.

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