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Syrian regime, rebels agree to cease-fire for holiday, envoy says

October 24, 2012 |  5:38 am

BrahimiBEIRUT -- The Syrian government has agreed to a cease-fire for the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said Wednesday.

Brahimi, the United Nations and the Arab League envoy to Syria, said most of the rebel groups battling President Bashar Assad's regime also have agreed to observe a temporary truce. Some rebel commanders said they would welcome a brief cease-fire for the civilian population on the holiday.

However, even if both sides agree, the implementation of a cease-fire remains in doubt. The fragmented opposition forces are not unified under one leadership, and it is unclear whether rebel commanders could enforce such a break in the hostilities.

A previous truce brokered by Brahimi's predecessor, Kofi Annan, fell apart almost immediately. Since then, the conflict has only grown more violent, with daily death tolls topping 150, many of them civilians.

Brahimi met with Assad on Sunday and had spent the previous week meeting with regional leaders to gather support for the cease-fire, which is anticipated to begin Friday and last four days.

Brahimi said the Syrian government planned to follow the cease-fire announcement with a statement later Wednesday or on Thursday.

"We hope to build on it and aim for a lasting and solid cease-fire," he said.


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Photo: Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations and Arab League envoy to Syria, speaks Wednesday during a news conference following a meeting at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo. Credit: Nasser Nasser / Associated Press