Egypt calls for ceasefire by Syrian opposition

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Egypt called on the Syrian opposition to announce a ceasefire and implement the agreed upon four safe zones on Sunday, according to Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) statement.

The Syrian army announced on Saturday a two-day ceasefire, one month after the agreed upon four safe zones in the Astana peace talks.

MFA spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid expressed support for the Syrian army’s decision, asserting that Egypt seeks a political solution to end the Syrian conflict, with the framework of Geneva talks and United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.

The Syrian Army announced on Saturday a 48-hour cease “of all combat operations” in the city of Deraa “in support of national reconciliation,” according to Syria’s state-owned news agency’s (SANA) publishing of the Syrian Defense Ministry’s statement.

The ceasefire took place starting Saturday 17 June at 12:00 PM.

“The Syrian government is keen on consolidating local reconciliations in parallel with the army’s operations to eradicate takfiri terrorism and restore security and stability to all Syrian territories,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, the UN sponsored talks between the Syrian Army and Syrian opposition groups in Geneva earlier this year. The talks were reportedly described by Syria’s president Bashar Al-Assad as “an irrelevance that was just for show.”

Egypt’s stance towards the Syrian conflict remained unclear for a while, after the ouster of former president Mohammed Morsi, particularly when Egypt voted in the UNSC on two different resolutions concerning the Syrian conflict in 2016. One resolution was introduced by France to end Russian airstrikes in Aleppo, while the other was a Russian-introduced resolution for ceasefire and aid, asserting Egypt’s support for “all efforts to end the Syrian conflict,” according to a MFA statement.

Shortly after the UNSC vote, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi expressed his support for Bashar Al-Asaad’s Russian-backed regime during an interview, where he asserted that Egypt supported national armies in the region to revive peace and combat terrorism, including the Libyan and Syrian armies.

Al-Sisi’s statements were followed by media reports indicating alleged Egyptian military aid to the Syrian army; however, MFA denied such claims.

In May, Russia, Turkey, and Iran agreed to establish four safe zones in Syria, as a result of the Astana ceasefire talks, which were supported by the Damascus regime and opposed by the Syrian opposition delegates.

Egypt has expressed its support for the Astana ceasefire agreement, which Russia’s minister of foreign affairs, Sergey Lavrov, described as the first step towards separating the “normal armed opposition and IS terrorists”  in a press conference during his recent visit to Egypt.

Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov announced in June that the next round of Astana talks was scheduled to begin on 4 July, according to Sputnik.

 

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