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Cease-fire Finds Two Sides in Agreement in Syria
October 24, 2012

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Both sides of Syria's civil war have agreed on a cease-fire for the Eid al-Adha holiday, one of Islam's most sacred celebrations, according to United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

Representatives of President Bashar al-Assad's government and of the major opposition groups, including the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian National Council, have made announcements to this effect, although the Syrian foreign ministry said it would make a final announcement soon. Both sides, however, announced their intention to return fire if the other side starts shooting.

The cease-fire brokered by Brahimi is reminiscent of the one achieved by his predecessor, Kofi Annan. That cease-fire lasted a few days, with both sides trading accusations over who broke it first.

The holiday, known as the Feast of the Sacrifice, begins on Thursday evening.

Meanwhile, the head of the U.N. peacekeeping operations, Herve Ladsous, said he was drawing up plans for the deployment of U.N. peacekeepers if the Eid cease-fire holds. Such a force would need approval from the Security Council, which so far has been reluctant to intervene in the conflict in a large way.

Earlier this year, in the wake of Annan's cease-fire, the U.N. deployed a group of unarmed security monitors in Syria. The monitors, their access restricted, stayed only a few days after fighting resumed. In some cases, they were targets for armed fighters.






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