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Halting all military operations in Syria is holding ‘by and large’: Ban Ki-moon - Daily News Egypt

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Halting all military operations in Syria is holding ‘by and large’: Ban Ki-moon

Kremlin said Monday the ceasefire is ongoing but will not easily be maintained

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said halting all military operations in Syria is holding “by and large” except for some violations.

Following a meeting with UN envoy to Syria Staffan Di Mistura, Ban told journalists that the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) is working to making this ceasefire a lasting solution.

France said it received information about some air violations. “We have received indications that attacks, including those by air, have been continuing against zones controlled by the moderate opposition,” French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told reporters at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Kremlin said Monday that the ceasefire is ongoing but it will not be easily maintained. Spokesman for the Kremlin Dimitry Peskhov said both the leaders of Russia and the US confirmed from the very beginning that committing to this ceasefire will not be easy.

Saudi foreign minister Adel Al Jubair earlier stated that if the Syrian regime will not commit to the ceasefire, then a “plan B will be implemented”. The Syrian government said declarations of that sort are meaning to ruin the ceasefire.

One of leaders of the Syrian Popular Front for Change and Liberation, Qadri Jamil, an opposition group recognised by Al-Assad’s regime, said Monday to Russian official agency TASS the US and its allies do not have a plan B for Syria. “There is no plan B; these are empty words,” Jamil said. “There is a plan A and it has been fulfilled; what is plan B?”

US secretary of state John Kerry said earlier the US is studying alternatives if the current process does not pan out as hoped. “It may be too late to keep Syria whole, if we wait much longer,” he said.

Jamil said the opposition should strengthen the ceasefire: “We should encourage the advancement of ceasefire.”  The ceasefire in Syria has been observed for three days now and the moderate opposition hopes this will continue. “The truce is not a game and cannot be a game,” Jamil said and that there is effort to maintain the ceasefire for as long as possible: “I can see progress, so I am optimistic.”

The ceasefire agreement in Syria was put into force at 2200 GMT Friday and the warring parties in Syria said they will commit to it, according to a US-Russian plan.

Both the Syrian government and the opposition said they will halt all operations during the ceasefire period. Fighting mostly ceased in western and northern Syria. Russia also announced it will halt its strikes over Syria Saturday against the groups included in the ceasefire.

The agreement does not include the “Islamic State” (IS) or Al-Nusra Front militants. Both Moscow and the Syrian government said they will not stop strikes against the terror groups. The UN urged all sides to commit to the ceasefire.

According to the agreement, aid will also be delivered to besieged areas in Syria. The agreement however is still fragile since the warring parties did not sign it themselves but rather it was agreed between the US and Russia.

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