Syria Warily Discussing a Holiday Cease Fire

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The United Nations envoy to Syria says Bashar al-Assad has agreed to a cease fire during the upcoming Eid al-Adha holiday, but will he honor it? The U.N. and many Muslim leaders had been pushing for a truce ahead of the four day observance, but both sides in the ongoing civil war have shown no willingness to lay down their arms. Lakhdar Brahimi, the new U.N. negotiator, is meeting with Arab League leaders this week in the hope that a temporary cease fire can lead to a longer peace, but given the current level of violence in Syria it feels more like wishful thinking. 

The U.N. previously announced a cease fire way back in March of this year, but neither side formally agreed to or honored it. Some rebel groups have reportedly signed on to this newest deal, but it seems unlikely to include all of them. It may also be seen as a ploy by Assad to stop the gains made by rebels in recent weeks. The capital of Damascus has been hit by ever more powerful bombs and the Syrian army has lost control of some major highways and even some military installations.

In other Syrian news, a Russian military source says Syrian rebels are now using shoulder-mounted, anti-air-aircraft missiles that are made in the United States. Western countries have been hesitant to directly arm rebel groups, but the black market for these advanced weapons is clearly being replenished by major arms dealers. Russia supplies the Syrian government with most of its weapons.

Eid al-Adha begins on Thursday evening and is a celebration in honor of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son for God.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.