11:38 GMT +3 hours28 August 2016
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Syrian Minister of State for National Reconciliation Affairs Ali Haidar

Syrian Minister Warns Against Using Ceasefire to Change Balance of Power

© AFP 2016/ LOUAI BESHARA
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Syrian State Minister for National Reconciliation Affairs Ali Haidar said that a number of countries could use the ceasefire in Syria in order to change the balance of power in the conflict-torn country, which in turn would bring Syria to the starting point of the conflict.

BEIRUT (Sputnik) – A number of countries could use the ceasefire in Syria in order to change the balance of power in the conflict-torn country, which in turn would bring Syria to the starting point of the conflict, Syrian State Minister for National Reconciliation Affairs Ali Haidar told Sputnik.

"If the cessation of hostilities is a temporary situation for the change of balance by external actors, those who will want to do that will soon act and we will return to point zero," Haidar said.

The minister added that the Syrian government supports all international efforts that are in the interest of the Syrian people and "has no problem" with the current ceasefire endorsed by the UN Security Council.

Russia and the United States reached an agreement on the ceasefire in Syria on February 22. The ceasefire took effect at midnight on Saturday, Damascus time (22:00 GMT on Friday). It does not apply to terrorist groups operating in the country, such as Islamic State (ISIL) and Nusra Front.

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution endorsing the Russia-US agreement on the cessation of hostilities in Syria on Friday, shortly before the ceasefire came into force.

Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad fighting against numerous opposition factions, including the Western-backed "moderate opposition," and extremist groups, such as ISIL (also known as Daesh), which is banned in a range of countries, including Russia and the United States.

The United States and Russia have remained at odds over the future of the current Syrian government and President Assad. Washington insists that Assad leave office while Moscow is committed to strengthening Assad’s role in fighting ISIL, as well as other terrorist groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra Front).

Russia has been launching airstrikes against ISIL targets in Syria at the request of Assad since late September 2015. A US-led international coalition has been conducting a separate military campaign against ISIL in Syria, albeit without the approval of Damascus or the UN Security Council, since September 2014.

Related:
Militants Affiliated With Al-Nusra Front Open Fire Amid Syria Ceasefire
Military Force Should Be Last Resort in Addressing Syria Ceasefire Breaches
Damascus Reserves Right to Respond to Any Ceasefire Violations in Syria
Tags:
reconciliation, balance of power, ceasefire, Ali Haidar, Syria
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  • vendor
    Fair play does not exist!
  • Ivan Buckeye
    Plan for a quick recovery.
  • hopscotch64
    This cease fire is giant risk for the Syrian and Russian peoples. That being said we will now see how sincere the US and it's criminal coalition is about ending the civil war. I have many doubts about the outcome and think the US will use this opportunity to replenish and inject the opposition terrorists with arms and fighters.
  • Beady-eyed Insomniac
    On a map - the sovereign government and Kurds hold the majority of area, the rebels have several small pockets, while isis have lots of very small pockets but generally cover large sections of desert including Raqqa. Therefore, the US backed rebels have very little in the way of bargaining power - other than for face-saving survival.
    Which may be why the US swung their support back to the Kurds, but Putin was first - with an office opening in Moscow.
    Kerry - your move next.
  • wendigo
    Not sure if the us actually wants their fighters to play ball with the Assad boys. If not, then there will at least be provocations, recon, and supplying violations. If yes, then what would that look like?
  • sophm0e38
    That's exactly what the NATO countries are doing in Ukraine during the so-called 'ceasefire.'
  • armorin reply tohopscotch64(Show commentHide comment)
    hopscotch64, agree largely. One thing, Russia will not be faulted in the future, it tried and was willing to take risks. Russia is wise and will not allow the good work done so far go to ruins. Our Russia is a long-distance runner...
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