Syria truce holds on first full day

The Myanmar Times - - World -

A SYRIA cease­fire billed as the “last chance” for peace ap­peared to be hold­ing on its first full day yes­ter­day, with res­i­dents across the coun­try re­port­ing a quiet night and anx­ious for aid.

The truce bro­kered by Rus­sia and the United States saw guns fall si­lent at sun­down on Septem­ber 12, with the next an­tic­i­pated step be­ing ur­gent re­lief de­liv­er­ies to des­per­ate civil­ians.

In sec­ond city Aleppo – a key bat­tle­ground in re­cent weeks – AFP cor­re­spon­dents in both the rebel-held east and the gov­ern­ment-held west re­ported the night had passed with­out air strikes or rocket fire.

Res­i­dents re­mained out on the streets un­til mid­night, tak­ing ad­van­tage of the lull in fight­ing to cel­e­brate the first day of the Mus­lim Eid al-Adha hol­i­day.

Bri­tain-based mon­i­tor­ing group the Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights said the main bat­tle­fronts were “com­pletely calm”.

US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry said it was “far too early to draw con­clu­sions” about the suc­cess of the cease­fire but urged all sides to seize the op­por­tu­nity.

“For all the doubts that re­main, and there will be chal­lenges in the days to come, this plan has a chance to work,” he said of the deal he agreed with his Rus­sian coun­ter­part Sergei Lavrov. “I urge all to sup­port it be­cause it may be the last chance to save a united Syria.”

The deal fore­sees the cease­fire be­ing swiftly fol­lowed by de­liv­er­ies of des­per­ately needed aid to civil­ians who live in be­sieged ar­eas, in par­tic­u­lar the rebel-held east of Aleppo.

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