Eid Al-Adha Cease-Fire

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This ill-fated cease-fire was arranged by U.N. peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi for the Eid Al-Adha holiday in late October 2012. Originally agreed to by the Syrian government and the Free Syrian Army's leadership on the 24th, and the 25th, it was implemented on Friday the 26th. The agreement was openly rejected by many rebel brigades and groups, and was allegedly violated intensively by both sides, starting within hours of its announcement.

Violations

The following are some of the violent incidents that occurred during the cease-fire.

  • Idilb fighting
Xinhua reported: "The first violation took place in the northern province of Idlib. According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, violent clashes were taking place in the surrounding of Wadi al-Dayf encampment, east of Ma'arat al-N'uman town, between government forces, rebel fighters, and fighters from the al-Qaida- linked group al-Nusra front."
  • A major rebel offensive in Aleppo
  • Mortar attack on Al-Mazreh Airport, Damascus
  • Damascus Car Bombing, Oct. 26
  • Government shelling and aerial bombardment of rebel forces and the cities they hid in
  • Another car bombing in Damascus, Oct. 28(?) or 29
Reuters

"State media said "armed terrorist groups" had broken the truce over the four days in the cities of Aleppo, Homs and Deir al-Zor and had detonated two car bombs in the capital on Monday. One killed 10 people, including women and children, near a bakery in Jaramana, a district controlled by forces loyal to Assad. The other was in Hajar al-Aswad, a neighborhood where rebels are based."

  • Offensives in Kurdish areas

Ahmed E Souaiaia wrote for Asia Times about the rebel offensive against the cease fire:

During the four-day holidays, more car bombs exploded in crowded cities and more attacks on military checkpoints. Worse, some of the FSA groups used the quiet time to attack Kurdish neighborhoods in Aleppo and other Kurdish majority areas to bring more territory under their control. Deadly fights erupted between FSA fighters and Kurdish neighborhood protection militias, forcing the FSA groups to retreat. [1]

Preludes

The following events also occurred in the days just prior to the cease-fire:

And slightly before that, considering the car bombing of the 26th, there might be value in considering the one from the previous Friday,in Lebanon. This targeted an anti-Syrian Sunni politician and sparking a crisis unseen since the 2005 slaying of Rafik Hariri.

  • Assassination of Wissam Al-Hassan, Beirut, Oct. 19

Opinion

Ahmed E Souaiaia in Asia Times made a case that U.N. envoy Brahimi's "ostensibly naive initiative" in this cease-fire "might have been a brilliant maneuver that ended the existence of the Syrian National Council, the previously prominent face of the Syrian opposition." [1]

Before proposing an ambitious plan like his predecessor, Brahimi wanted to make sure that there are reliable representatives of both sides who can exert influence and control over their subordinates. After visiting Russia and China, he proposed from Tehran that both the opposition forces and the government stop fighting for four days.
Apparently, he wanted to test the influence of the Syrian regime backers and the political leaders of the opposition (Syrian National Council, or SNC) who accepted the ceasefire. [...] Brahimi wanted actual proof of command and control over armed groups in the form of four days of quiet.
The result was embarrassing for the so-called opposition leaders. [...] The message was clear: the Syrian National Council did not have any significant sway over the armed groups inside Syria. That message reached the Western backers of the SNC. [...] The US administration announced that the SNC must expand its base and bring armed groups under control.
Two weeks after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made that comment, the SNC was absorbed into a newly established body, the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces (SNCORF, or Syrian National Coalition). Leaders of the new coalition have claimed that they now represent 90% of the Syrian people.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Syrian coalition faces testing time By Ahmed E Souaiaia. Asia Times, Speaking Freely, November 27, 2012