Saturday, February 24, 2018

Syria commits to 4-day truce, but prospects dim

BEIRUT, Lebanon — The embattled regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad promised Thursday to observe a U.N.-proposed truce during a four-day Muslim holiday, while rebels claimed major gains in the key battleground of Aleppo.

But prospects of the cease-fire taking hold are dim, given Assad's history of broken promises and the rebel momentum in Aleppo, Syria's largest city, where fighters said they advanced into several regime-held neighborhoods.

The truce plan by U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has been endorsed by the U.N. Security Council, including Assad allies Russia and China.

The truce, to begin today with the start of the Eid al-Adha holiday, appears in jeopardy from the outset.

Neither side has shown an interest in laying down arms, instead pushing for incremental military gains. There were no arrangements for monitoring compliance, and Brahimi didn't say what would happen after four days.

Both sides kept fighting into late Thursday.

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