Part of the problem is that the cease-fire would allow Russian planes to continue bombing Aleppo, where Moscow says the Islamic State and al Nusra are still active. Those bombing runs have also targeted a variety of U.S.-backed rebel groups, and have been absolutely devastating for civilians trapped in the middle of the fighting.
Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Sunday an agreement with Russia for an imminent, if “provisional,” partial truce in Syria, saying it largely awaited a conversation between President Obama and President Vladimir V. Putin to work out final details. But plenty of complications remain.
Mr. Kerry’s announcement came at the end of a day of meetings in Jordan. Just hours after he spoke, multiple suicide attacks claimed by the Islamic State ripped through the central city of Homs and a suburb of the capital, Damascus, killing more than 100 people and wounding dozens. One of the attacks was in an area of Homs where many Alawites, the sect of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, live and work. It was the target last month of another bombing claimed by the Islamic State.
Mr. Kerry is known as an eternal optimist when it comes to negotiations: That paid off in his relentless pursuit of a nuclear deal with Iran, and again with the global climate change pact reached in Paris at the end of last year. It failed in his first big project as secretary of state, an effort to revive the Israel-Palestinian negotiating process.
But Syria remains his biggest test, a humanitarian disaster that many in the Obama administration concede, at least in private, they responded to insufficiently. Mr. Kerry seemed testy about his critics on Sunday, telling reporters: “Now, a lot of cynics have criticized our diplomatic efforts. But I want to point out very clearly they have not offered a realistic alternative that actually decreases the bloodshed and ends the conflict.
There are a few things we know for certain about the Syrian cease-fire plan due to take effect soon. The agreement doesn’t cover the Islamic State, the al Qaeda-affiliated al Nusra Front, or any other individuals considered terrorists by the U.N. Security Council. Those groups might continue to be an alibi for Russian air raids, depending on how Russia interprets the cessation of hostilities agreement.
As per Turkey’s risk indicators, even the suggested cease-fire gets in to effect, continued Russian bombing campaign in North-Western Syria will continue to put pressure on Armed Aggression risk with Russia and keep negatively affecting Political Instability indicator given the potential influx of new refugees to Turkey and eventually to Europe.
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