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Syria’s ceasefire is over after a bloody week

With fingers pointing in all directions, the fragile ceasefire between the Assad regime and Syria's militants has broken down, setting the stage for a resumption in hostilities.
Justin Ling
Montreal, CA

The Assad government declared an end to a week-long ceasefire in Syria on Monday, accusing rebel groups of violating the deal.

The agreement, brokered by a temporary partnership between the White House and the Kremlin, had been on the rocks virtually since it began, with both the Syrian military and militants looking to oust President Bashar al-Assad continuing hostilities.

Russia placed blame for the ceasefire's failure at the feet of President Barack Obama, suggesting on Sunday that the accidental bombing of a Syrian military position by American fighter jets would lead to the dissolution of the agreement.


Syrian state media pushed a similar logic on Monday.

The Syrian Arab News Agency, a state-run broadcaster, quoted a statement from the Syrian military on Monday saying "the criminal acts of the terrorist groups during the truce period form clear evidence on the extent of the affiliation of these groups to international and regional sides which have no interest in the cessation of hostilities or putting an end to the suffering of the Syrian people."

The American strike near the Deir el-Zour — or Deir Ezzor — airport reportedly killed 62 Syrian soldiers. Russia blasted the American military for the strike, which the Department of Defense called an accident. The US military said in a statement that the air force "had earlier informed Russian counterparts of the upcoming strike," but that the Russian military did not provide the information about the Syrian military position until the airstrikes had already begun.

— MFA Russia (@mfa_russia)September 18, 2016

Even without the accidental bombing, the hold on hostilities was largely toothless.

The Russian military alleges that anti-Assad rebels had violated the ceasefire 302 times as of Monday morning, according to the Kremlin-run Interfax news agency. The Syrian Network for Human Rights, an independent watchdog group, identified 28 breaches of the ceasefire in the first 48 hours by the regime. Syrian state media even publicized operations that killed 25 opposition fighters

Unless the American and Russian governments can get the parties back to the table, this will be the second failed ceasefire this year.

Follow Justin Ling on Twitter: @Justin_Ling