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Monday, January 2

And what of the Syrian ceasefire?

"On Sunday, the Russian Center for reconciliation of opposing sides in Syria reported that it had registered 21 violations in the last 24 hours."

For an allover view of the 'political' implications of the ceasefire, skim through Patrick Cockburn's Dec. 30 analysis for The Independent, The Syrian ceasefire agreement has shifted the balance of power to Assad

Next, here's the latest sitrep from FARS, datedlined today at 12:20am local time: Syria in Last 24 Hours: Army Inflicts Heavy Losses on Terrorists in Homs Province, which summarizes the military action province by province. 

Take special note of the part about Idlib. Clearly the bad guys are preparing to decamp from Idlib City. They've even ripped up train tracks and transported them to Turkey for sale.
Now we're ready for details about where the ceasefire agreement stands:

Why Saudi Arabia and Qatar are not Part of Syrian Ceasefire Deal
14:29 - 02.01.2017
Sputnik

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are "closely monitoring" the latest developments in Syria, Salih Muslim, co-chairman of the [Syrian Kurdish] Democratic Union Party (PYD), told Sputnik, adding that the fragile ceasefire brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran in late December will hardly hold since some stakeholders are not interested in the war ending.

"Currently everyone in Syria wants a truce. We want it too. We want the bloodshed to stop. We want life in Syria to go back to normal. However, every force fighting in Syria pursues its own goals. The end of war is clearly not a goal for some of these forces because it is not in their interests. I think that fighting will stop for some time, but it will resume once again because serious games are being played in Syria," he elaborated. 


The deal between Damascus and armed Syrian opposition was unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin on December 29, with the nationwide truce taking effect the next day. The ceasefire has been repeatedly violated since then. On Sunday, the Russian Center for reconciliation of opposing sides in Syria reported that it had registered 21 violations in the last 24 hours.

"I don't think that the latest ceasefire will be successful. I don't believe that that the goals outlined by the recent deals will be reached since many groups have not been part of the agreement," Salih Muslim noted. "The truce will be observed by the groups linked to Turkey. Those militias that do not follow orders from Turkey will not abide by the ceasefire deal."

Russia and Turkey act as co-guarantors of the new ceasefire. However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Egypt could soon become part of the Syrian peace talks, adding that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Iraq will also be invited to take part in these efforts in the future. "Saudi Arabia and Qatar are closely following the ceasefire," Salih Muslim said. "They want to see its first outcomes."

Saudi Arabia and Qatar have long provided support to some of the radical groups fighting in Syria. Their assistance has been viewed as one of the factors contributing to the continuation of the nearly six-years-long war.

[END REPORT]

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