Fragile Syria truce comes under strain

Some at the Pentagon think Kerry had given in to Lavrov on key issues



Five days into the operation, the Syria ceasefire, brokered by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, appears to be going nowhere. Though there is some apparent lull on the war front, some of the key features of the deal still remain unimplemented. The aid is not reaching Aleppo, the second largest city of Syria that has been bearing the brunt of the non-stop air attacks by the Bashar Al Assad regime. The Castello Road, which was supposed to have been vacated by the regime troops to facilitate a safe passage of aid materials, is still under their control despite Russian claims to the contrary. The much-needed relief to the besieged city is still not coming despite the Kerry-Lavrov deal spelling a clear way forward on the issue.
There is some unease at the Pentagon that Kerry has given in to a wily Lavrov on some operational issues. The official draft of the ceasefire is not made public, though details have been leaked out. One key point that has made the US defence officials uncomfortable is the idea of joint strikes by the Russian and US forces if the ceasefire lasts more than a week. The joint ground operations with Russian forces were never undertaken by the US even after the end of the Cold War. Their fear is that the Russians might get to know too much about the way the US forces operate in war zones. Some Pentagon experts even suggested the deal might run into legal trouble by citing a Congress legislation that bars joint military activities with enemy countries such as Russia.
Syria's legitimate opposition too has much to fear from the ceasefire deal. They fear they could come in the line of attacks purportedly conducted on the Daesh and Jabhar Fateh Al Sham positions. No clear distinctions on moderate and militant opposition is possible on ground as they are fighting side by side.


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