The Edmond Sun

Nation & World

October 25, 2012

Cease-fire in Syria is met with shrugs

BEIRUT — Only hours after the international envoy to Syria announced a cease-fire for the upcoming Eid al-Adha holiday, it was already thrown into doubt.

The envoy for the U.N. and Arab League, Lakhdar Brahimi, said Wednesday that the government of President Bashar Assad had agreed to a four-day cease-fire for the upcoming Muslim holiday. Brahimi has been working to broker a cease-fire as he meets with other regional leaders.

“We hope to build on it and aim for a lasting and solid cease-fire,” he said of the truce, which was backed by the United Nations Security Council.

But within an hour, Syria’s Foreign Ministry said military commanders were still studying the proposal.

And despite Brahimi’s contention that most rebel groups he spoke to had agreed, there is little consensus within the opposition, with commanders in various parts of Syria saying different things.

“We will observe it as long as the regime does,” said Col. Qassim Saad Eddine, spokesman for the Free Syrian Army, who added that “we don’t expect them to observe it for even one minute.”

Abu Firas, a spokesman for the opposition Revolutionary Council for Aleppo and Its Suburbs, said the Free Syrian Army had agreed to a cease-fire only on the conditions that the government release all detainees, withdraw its army from the city and end its siege of Homs — conditions that are highly unlikely to be met.

But what seemed to undermine the proposal the most Wednesday was the continuing violence across the country, which activists said claimed more than 100 lives. Even a brief lull in violence at this point seems improbable.

In the Damascus suburb of Duma, activists said government forces and loyalist militia fighters stormed a building and massacred 22 civilians. Among them were eight women and four children, activists said.

State news media blamed the killings on opposition fighters.

In the northern city of Maarat Numan, site of fierce clashes and shelling for two weeks, a mosque was bombed and four sheiks were killed, said Ahmad Halabi, an activist in the city.

And in the south Damascus neighborhood of Tadamon, rebels detonated a bomb at a government checkpoint, killing at least six, according to state media.

Even if both sides agree to the cease-fire, its implementation remains in doubt. A previous truce brokered by Brahimi’s predecessor, Kofi Annan, fell apart within days when government forces didn’t withdraw from cities as promised and the regime accused rebels of continuing attacks.

Since then the conflict has grown more violent, with mounting daily death tolls.

Abu Muaath, a commander with the Ansar al Islam brigade in Damascus, one of the largest rebel groups in the capital, said his group would not agree to the cease-fire because the government was already undermining it.

In the last two days, he said, the government has doubled the number of checkpoints in and around Damascus and beefed up its security forces.

At least half the rebel commanders have not agreed to the truce, he said.

“For a cease-fire, he needs to remove the checkpoints and stop the detentions and killing. Is this just to laugh at the people in saying publicly that there is a cease-fire?” he said. “The people of Syria will have their Eid when the regime falls.”

Text Only
Nation & World
  • Blackmon.jpg Local cops arrest NFL player on marijuana complaint

    The Edmond Police Department has released the incident report related to the arrest of ex-Oklahoma State star and current NFL player Justin Blackmon.
    Blackmon, 24, a product of Plainview High School in Ardmore, is a 6-1, 210-pound wide receiver in his second year with the Jacksonville Jaguars. At Oklahoma State University, he was a two-time Biletnikoff Award winner as the country’s best collegiate wide receiver.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • A Q&A on ‘Obamacare’ Court Rulings

    On Tuesday, two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on the legality of tax subsidies being provided to people who bought “Obamacare” health insurance policies in Oklahoma and 35 other states.
    Here’s a look at the rulings’ potential impact in Oklahoma.

    Q: I’m confused. What did the courts rule today?
    A: A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals circuit in Washington, D.C., decided that the government can’t provide tax subsidies for Affordable Care Act plans purchased in 36 states where the federal government is operating the health insurance exchange. Oklahoma is one of the 36 states. A few hours later, the U.S. Court of Appeals circuit in Richmond, Va., issued a conflicting ruling that upheld the legality of the health-care law’s tax subsidies.

    July 22, 2014

  • June healthy month for Oklahoma jobs

    Nearly 10,000 new jobs in Oklahoma were created in June, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
    Gov. Mary Fallin said Tuesday the state experienced one of the largest increases in employment in the nation in June. More than 9,600 additional people joined the state’s workforce in June.
    The unemployment rate in June dropped to 4.5 percent, its lowest ratio in six years. June’s rate was down a percentage point from 4.6 percent in May and April, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

    July 22, 2014

  • Former OSU line coach having impact on Texas staff

    It was quite possibly the biggest coaching coup of the offseason and Oklahoma State was at the wrong end of it — former Cowboy offensive line coach Joe Wickline joining the staff for Charlie Strong’s Texas Longhorns.
    “It’s always good when you go hire staff and you look at just getting the right people within your program. And, a lot of times, guys know a lot of Xs and Os, but it’s all just about developing a player,” said Strong, Tuesday during the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days. “Joe and I, we’ve coached together at two different places. But just with him being within his conference and knowing the conference, he’s been a great asset.”

    July 22, 2014

  • UCO campus 3.jpg University of Central Oklahoma recognized as having friendly work environment

    The Chronicle of Higher Education named the University of Central Oklahoma as one of the “2014 Great Colleges to Work For.” Central is the only higher education institution in the state recognized on the list and one of only a handful of institutions in the nation given the distinction of being named to the Honor Roll for being cited most often among all the recognition categories.          
    Central joins Duke, Baylor and Notre Dame on the list of the 10 universities named to the large institution honor roll.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sparring justices find little disagreement at the opera

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg revealed a different view of U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday when she described about her passion for opera, one she shares with Justice Antonin Scalia.

    July 21, 2014

  • Experts: Ukraine airliner disaster has implications for U.S. security

    Use of surface-to-air missiles by extra-military personnel to shoot down civilian aircraft may be an emerging threat to the United States, a terrorism expert said.
    On Thursday, Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 took off from Amsterdam and was shot down over Ukraine near the Russian border. Nearly 300 innocent lives were taken — men, women, children, infants — who had nothing to do with the crisis in Ukraine, President Barack Obama said during a statement on the conflict in front of reporters at the White House.

    July 18, 2014

  • Rabbi, UCO professor provide Middle East perspectives

    Hours after Israel launched ground operations in the Gaza Strip, the leader of a metro synagogue and a UCO professor who was raised in the West Bank shared their thoughts about the escalating conflict.  
    During the latest cycle of violence sparked by the kidnapping and deaths of three Israeli teenagers that Israel blames on Hamas, the Jewish nation launched air strikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip.

    July 18, 2014

  • spts-OC Rhein Gibson British Open.jpg OC alum Gibson holes pressure putt on 18, makes cut at British Open

    It was the biggest putt of Rhein Gibson’s life — which is saying something for a guy who once shot a world-record 55 — and the Oklahoma Christian alum and Edmond resident responded the way he has so many times before.
    A four-time NAIA All-American while at Oklahoma Christian University, Gibson made the 15-footer for a birdie on No. 18 as darkness descended at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, capping a 2-over-par 74 and allowing him to make the cut in the world’s most prestigious tournament.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • spts-Senior Open Josh Cook hands on hips.jpg ‘Cook’-ing up a championship golf course

    When the practice rounds began at the U.S. Senior Open July 7, the ramblings were almost non-stop.
    From the players who live at the course to professional golfers from across the ocean and diverse parts of the globe, the consensus was that Oak Tree National was in tremendous shape and the players were keyed up to compete on it.
    “The golf course is fantastic,” Oak Tree resident Bob Tway said on the first day of competition July 10. “It’s hard, but it’s fantastic.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos