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.”

1
Text Only
Nation & World
  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 3 Senate candidates say no to Sharia law

    Whether to deport non-citizen Muslim men in the U.S. who believe violence is justified by Sharia law was a question asked to three of the seven Republicans running for the U.S. Senate.
    The Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee hosted a debate recently in Oklahoma City. The office is being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn.
    Congressman James Lankford said Great Britain has experimented with allowing certain pockets of their nation to function under Sharia law.

    April 22, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 19, 2014

  • Kaiser joins Thunder ownership group

    Tulsa businessman George B. Kaiser has been approved by the NBA Board of Governors as a new partner in The Professional Basketball Club LLC, which owns the Oklahoma City Thunder. Thunder Chairman and CEO Clayton I. Bennett made the announcement Friday. Kaiser is purchasing the ownership interest of Tom L. Ward.
    “We are honored to welcome George Kaiser as a member of the ownership group of the Oklahoma City Thunder,” Bennett said. “George is a well-respected and important Oklahoma business leader, as well as one of the state and nation’s top philanthropists. His commitment to successful business and community leadership is in true alignment with that of the Thunder.
    “I also appreciate the commitment and leadership provided by Tom Ward as a member of our ownership group from the beginning,” Bennett added.

    April 18, 2014

  • VIDEO: Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 18, 2014

  • MS_injection well.jpg Agency clarifies earthquake-related misinformation

    A state agency says misinformation related to the debate about the cause of more earthquakes across Central Oklahoma includes oil well types, well numbers and injection pressure.
    The Prague sequence of 2011 along the Wilzetta Fault zone included a significant foreshock, a main shock of magnitude 5.7 and numerous aftershocks. It has been suggested that this sequence represents tremors triggered by fluid injection.
    More recently, earthquakes have been recorded in the vicinity of Jones, Arcadia Lake, Edmond, Guthrie, Langston and Crescent. Regulators and scientists are working together to better understand what’s causing all the shaking.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • bomb1 VIDEO: A year after marathon bombing, Boston remains strong

    The City of Boston came together Tuesday to honor those who were injured and lost their lives at the Boston Marathon on the one-year anniversary of the bombing. While the day was sure to be emotional, those affected by last year's race are showing they won't let the tragedy keep them down.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • New study counters pot legalization argument

    A new study raises a strong challenge to the idea that casual marijuana use isn’t associated with bad consequences, a researcher says.
    Researchers say the findings suggest recreational marijuana use may lead to previously unidentified brain changes and highlight the importance of research aimed at understanding the long-term effects of low to moderate marijuana use on the brain.

    April 15, 2014

  • Anita Hill.jpg Anita Hill reflects on her fateful testimony, 23 years later

    Back in 1993, I rounded a corner of a Laguna Beach, Calif., grocery store and walked straight into Anita Hill.
    We both stopped in our tracks. She looked slightly panicked, like someone had turned on a light in a room, and all she wanted was the door.
    It took a moment to register that this was the woman who, just two years before, calmly testified before a Senate committee about the sexual harassment she endured while working for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas  at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, of all places.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo