Brahimi: Syria agrees to Eid holiday ceasefire

By REUTERS
October 24, 2012 11:49

UN-Arab League envoy to Syria says the Syrian government and several rebel groups have agreed to hold fire starting Thursday.

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Veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi

Veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi 370. (photo credit:REUTERS)

CAIRO - International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said on Wednesday the Syrian government has agreed to a ceasefire during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha and that Damascus would announce the decision shortly.

The holiday starts on Thursday and lasts three or four days. Brahimi, a mediator appointed by the United Nations and Arab League, said some Syrian opposition groups he had been in contact with had also agreed to a truce in principle.

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"After the visit I made to Damascus, there is agreement from the Syrian government for a ceasefire during the Eid," Brahimi told a news conference at the Cairo-based League.

He did not give a precise time period for the ceasefire but said Damascus would announce its agreement on Wednesday or Thursday. "Other factions in Syria that we were able to contact, heads of fighting groups, most of them also agree on the principle of the ceasefire," he added.

Syrian President Bashar Assad is fighting an insurgency that grew out of street protests 19 months ago and has escalated into a civil war in which 30,000 people have been killed.

His overstretched army has lost swathes of territory and relies on air power to keep rebels at bay.

"If this humble initiative succeeds, we hope that we can build on it in order to discuss a longer and more effective ceasefire and this has to be part of a comprehensive political process," Brahimi said.

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