Syrian Ceasefire Called By UN But Will This Be Enough?

Will the Syrian ceasefire called by the UN be enough?

The United Nations Security Council has successfully approved a 30-day ceasefire in Syria this week in order to deliver adequately much needed humanitarian and medical aid to the region. This event, covered by the BBC and Guardian news organizations, epitomizes the necessity for international diplomacy and cooperation as global agencies such as America, Russia, and the UK must work together with the Syrian government in order to promote lasting change within the war-torn region. This pact candidly infringes the policies of the ceasefire as relative only to the Syrian government and selected rebel forces and fails to encompass larger jihadist rebel groups and thus creates a skepticism regarding the realistic impact of the truce.

The ceasefire policy approved for on Saturday, thus, outlines and ‘demands that all parties cease hostilities without delay… to ensure a full and comprehensive implementation of this demands by all parties for a durable humanitarian pause of at least 30 consecutive days throughout Syria, to enable the safe and sustained delivery of humanitarian aid and medical evacuations in accordance with international law’. The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, describes the conditions the Syrian region of Eastern Ghouta, where there have been multiple attacks and fatalities, as ‘hell on earth’ as the indiscriminate bombings of civilians and rebels alike has created a local milieu of destruction, distrust, and desperation.

Previous histories of ceasefires within the Syrian region are similarly argued to have had ineffective impacts with the last truce negotiated between Russian and Syrian agencies in late 2016, disintegrating the very day it was meant to come into action. Despite the intended goodwill tendered by the UN regarding this truce, the realistic consequences and meaningful significance of this policy are yet to be examined. The truce’s omission of a ceasefire to fully extend to the military operations carried out against the Islamic State, Al- Qaeda regime, and the Nusra Front thus throws in to question the effectiveness of the ceasefire if military action can still be politically sanctified against and between selected groups.

The policies approved by the UN council convening in New York on Saturday argues to facilitate the access of humanitarian agencies to effectively treat and evacuate wounded civilians and soldiers in regional areas. Specifically, 5.6 million people and 1,244 communities were identified as at risk victims within the policy, with nearly 3 million people recognized to live in hard to reach or military occupied areas. The sheer magnitude of the conflict is similarly explored through the statistics produced through the human rights watch group and UK based Syrian Observatory, which alleged that at on Saturday alone 29 civilians had been killed in East Ghouta, with an estimated 393,000 remaining trapped due to the shellings and bombings of Syrian planes.

The tendered truce produced by the UN council on Saturday is a much needed and significant step in resolving the long-term detrimental conflict within the Syrian region. The ability for humanitarian agencies to freely access remote areas and previously dangerous locations marks a small step in the long journey recovery and is vital for the protection and future of the countries civilian population. Despite this step, however, continual change must be adopted and maintained within the region in order to create a lasting impact which supports the needs and desires of the growing populace within this war-torn country.

Ellie Willis