By Gulsen Topcu
ISTANBUL (AA) – The National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces have announced that it will respond positively to the U.S.-Russia-brokered cease-fire across the country.
The Syrian regime Monday announced the start of the cease-fire, the official news agency said.
“The Syrian Coalition emphasizes that any international efforts aimed at alleviating the suffering of the Syrian people; stopping the bombardment, killing and destruction by the Russian and the regime air force as well as the Iranian militias; and the introduction of humanitarian aid the besieged areas is a step in the right direction,” the group said in a statement.
“The Syrian Coalition stresses it will react positively to such efforts as long as they are in line with UN Security Council resolutions,” it added.
The statement also said the Free Syrian Army and rebel groups have the right to defend Syrians against all attacks by regime forces or terror groups, as well as any kind of land occupation or forced evacuations.
“The Free Syrian Army and rebel groups, that announced they would react positively to the CoH [Cessation of Hostilities], have the right to defend the Syrian people against all land and aerial attacks, attempts to seize new territory, attempts to impose blockades; and forcing civilians in the besieged areas out of their homes.”
It urged humanitarian aid for the besieged areas.
“The Syrian Coalition stresses that an unimpeded introduction of food and medical aid to the besieged cities and neighborhoods, most importantly to Aleppo, Alwaer, Moadamiya, Madaya and eastern Ghouta should be a prelude to the full lifting of the sieges as these sieges amount to war crimes and violate the international humanitarian law and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” the statement said.
They also asked for the signatories to create a mechanism to monitor violations of the agreement.
On Monday, the Syrian Arab News Agency said the truce would run from 7 p.m. local time (1600GMT) to 11.59 p.m. local time (2059GMT) on Sept. 18.
According to a statement from the General Command of the Army and Armed Forces, the seven-day truce applied across Syria but the army retained the right to “respond decisively using all types of firepower to any breach by armed groups.”
The cease-fire is aimed at introduced humanitarian aid to besieged areas.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry dubbed the deal a “turning point” and said it could mark a move “towards a negotiated peace and a political transition in Syria”.
Syria has suffered unspeakable losses over the last five years since Bashar al-Assad’s government violently suppressed a peaceful protest against his rule, unleashing a downward spiral of violence that killed hundreds of thousands of victims and displaced millions.