Published: Thu, July 13, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Netanyahu: Israel will welcome 'genuine cease-fire' in Syria

Netanyahu: Israel will welcome 'genuine cease-fire' in Syria

Sunday's ceasefire went into effect just ahead of new peace talks in Geneva.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's other main ally, Iran, is not a party to the agreement.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said the cease-fire would be monitored by Russian military police in coordination with the Americans and Jordanians.

All have failed to halt the fighting for very long.

What's now known about the deal is that the United States, Russia and Jordan have agreed to establish a violations monitoring center, which would be based in Amman, the capital of Jordan. Iran wields extensive influence in the area through its network of militias, including the Lebanese Hezbollah movement, and there are concerns that Iran might work to scuttle a deal that might significantly increase US influence over this part of Syria. President Trump seized on it as a measure of diplomatic victory during his first meeting with his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir V. Putin, at the Group of 20 summit meeting last Friday in Hamburg.

Last month, U.S. jets struck regime military targets near the Iraqi border in the south-eastern area of the ceasefire zone when they strayed too close to USA military forces training rebels.

NPR observed that the ceasefire seemed to be holding after nine hours, with no documented violations in the first hour, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is quite good by the dismal standards of previous Syrian ceasefires.

Trump, Macron speak in Paris
As NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports , the two leaders will also try to make progress on the many issues that divide them. While Macron will look to forge a stronger bond with Trump , there may be someone else who can't: The city of Paris .

An Israeli officer told the newspaper that Russian Federation had proposed that its army control the safe zones in southern Syria but Tel Aviv made it clear to the Americans that it opposes that and prefers USA supervision.

"We welcome any ceasefire, but let s see it, let s see the results on where these safety zones are proposed", Fallon told a Washington think-tank. It remains to be seen whether a sufficient number of rebel factions will accept Russian Federation and Iran's demand that Bashar Assad remain in power.

Colonel Abu Al Majd, who heads the Southern Front's efforts to fight ISIL in the area, said the situation in Syria's south was heading towards a political - rather than a military - solution.

It is in effect in southwestern Syria, in the provinces of Quneitra, Swede and Deraa, which includes the city of the same name where anti-government protests in early 2011 sparked the larger civil war.

He added that Israel will "continue to monitor developments beyond our borders".

The most suspenseful question may be whether the ceasefire blanket can be thrown across northern Syria in time to extinguish the smoldering conflict between the Turks and Kurds.

Given the longtime carnage in Syria, the immediate benefits of even a temporary truce are clear to the Syrian we spoke to: "This ceasefire will encourage the construction of trust and mutual understanding between the opposing parties - giving hope to Syrian refugees around the world dreaming of returning home". With rebel units tied up in Manshiyyeh, ISIL has been able to push back against opposition forces tasked with its defeat.

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