Mixed Reports From Syria

Syrian government reports that they have begun pulling troops back from fighting lines. This comes as they approach one week of the UN deadline for a total ceasefire. At this point there is no confirmation from the UN or the rebel forces. Rebel forces had earlier stated that fighting had increased as the government seeks to annihilate the opposition before their time is up.

Kofi Annan’s peace agreement requires the government forces to pull back to their bases, by April 10. Rebel forces are required to stop fighting once they are no longer under attack and to not advance in the absence of the troops.

There are many holes in the agreement, such as the lack of requirement for an immediate cease fire. The plan also fails to realize the lack of united front amongst the different rebel groups, not all of whom have agreed to the truce. Some of the rebels refuse to acknowledge any agreement that does not immediately remove President Bashar al-Assad from power.

The government may very well continue firing up until their dead line. And then use the actions of rebels, who haven’t acknowledged the agreement, as reasoning to continue against all opposition. Especially troubling is the admitted involvement of al Qaeda amongst some of the rebel groups. Al Qaeda would have no reason to see the ceasefire be successful.

In March of 2011 protests against the rule of President Assad began. The government’s swift violent crackdowns on the rallies only made them grow and spread. In some areas armed revolts took place, and government troops defected in some cases. Military forces had simply just tried shelling neighborhoods into submission. It’s been a long and bloody year in Syria. Estimates of the dead range from 9,000 up to 15,000.

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