© AFP 2016/ JALAA MAREY
Golan Heights, June 2016.
The first 48 hours of the ceasefire have been largely successful, and the Russian General Staff is calling for the first 48-hour extension
. This despite the fact that, according to them, "the total number of violations by militants increased to 60... We also note that some armed groups controlled by the United States, such as Ahrar Al-Sham, announced directly their unwillingness to cease fire. The biggest number of violations is linked to these groups." If these next 48 hours hold, and the 72 after that, the U.S. and Russia will presumably team up to coordinate attacks on Daesh and Nusra
. (Though Washington will continue to support any "moderate opposition" that uphold the ceasefire, according to Kerry.)
As we covered yesterday, Russian FM Lavrov is saying that Russia has nothing to hide
regarding the details of the Syrian ceasefire, the details of which have been kept secret, presumably at the U.S.'s urging. As Leonid Bershidsky wrote in a Bloomberg article after the press conference last week, "The agreements, five separate documents, won't be published, ostensibly to prevent Islamist groups from disrupting the humanitarian effort that should follow the deal."
U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner responded to Lavrov's statement, confirming that it is the U.S. that wants it to stay secret: "[T]here are some operational details, areas of sensitivity, we do not believe would be in the interest of the agreement, or in anyone's interest, to share." Of course, this raises the question as to what the U.S. considers so "sensitive". Maybe the rumors of a dozen or so U.S. special forces troops embedded with the al-Nusra and stuck in encircled east Aleppo are true - and the agreement ensures their safe passage. Maybe the agreement has the U.S. selling out some of their terrorist groups in writing
. Impossible to know. Just watch the following video: