Violence in Syria has drastically dropped in the six days since a U.S. and Russian-brokered “cessation of hostilities” began on Feb. 27. Some Syrians, however, fear the worst is yet to come.
These Syrians deeply distrust the world powers negotiating Syria’s fate from afar. The ceasefire, they say, is nothing but a shameful joke that will only benefit President Bashar Assad, the strongman they rose up against in 2011 who still clings to power.
“All the world, for five years, watched the bloodbath,” said Motaz, an activist living in Eastern Ghouta, a rebel-held area in the Damascus countryside.
“If they were honest, they would have helped us from the beginning,” Motaz, who dropped out of dentistry school to document the pro-democracy protests that erupted in Syria in 2011, added. “Now, the ceasefire is for whom? They broker a ceasefire to help the regime continue killing us. Now, we can’t fight the regime, but Assad and Russia and United States will bomb us.”
Just a few miles away, in the government stronghold of Damascus, Syrians have been openly criticizing the ceasefire, according to Hazem, who recently graduated with a degree in architecture.
“America is all about PR at the moment, as it has lost most of its credibility over the past five years,” he told The WorldPost in a Whatsapp message. “The Obama administration is trying to achieve a first step for a solution, but they’re doing it really wrong.”
As many as 470,000 Syrians have lost their lives due to war, according to the Syrian Center for Policy Research. More than half of the country’s population has been displaced. Five years after Syrians took to the streets demanding freedom, only to be violently put down by government forces, the country has become a bloody staging ground for foreign powers and non-state groups vying for influence.
Six days after the ceasefire took effect, levels of violence have plummeted, despite both sides of the conflict alleging breaches by their adversaries. U.S. officials have said the ceasefire has so far played out better than expected.
But critics of the deal have slammed the lack of monitoring mechanisms meant to track and respond to possible violations.
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SOURCE: Sophia Jones
The Huffington Post