Truce brokered in Syria, fighting on hold

UNITED NATIONS – A proposed truce in Syria came with the sunrise today, but there are many skeptics who do not expect the guns to remain silent for long, if at all.

Under a ceasefire agreement brokered by the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, fighting was to stop at 6 A.M. Thursday and, according to the Associated Press, the first hours passed without any reports of major fighting.

The truce is to be followed by negotiations between President Bashar Assad’s regime and the Syrian opposition aimed at finding a political solution to the bloodshed that has claimed more than 9,000 lives over the last 13 months.

But as the sands of the diplomatic hourglass sifted down in the hours before the ceasefire agreement was set to take effect, it was hard to find diplomats or observers here at the UN or across the Middle East who believed it would hold.

US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed agreement Wednesday that “more resolute” action was needed by the UN Security Council if the ceasefire agreement was truly going to hold.

And some observers went beyond doubt and expressed fear that the truce could actually have the unintended consequence of propping up the Assad regime by recognizing its legitimacy.

And they are left wondering if the ceasefire doesn’t serve to undercut the rebel fighters and their intention to topple the regime which in the days leading up to this morning has shown just how vicious it is willing to be in holding on to power.

Beyond such speculation, it has been difficult to know the hard facts on the ground during the regime’s stepped-up offensive against the rebels in Syria as reporters have largely been prevented from entering the country.

GlobalPost’s James Foley provided a rare glimpse inside the fighting, showing how the Syrian regime was forcefully and systematically putting down the rebellion in rebel strongholds like the town of Saraqeb.

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