Warring factions in Syria may not heed truce call, warns UAE daily

WAM ABU DHABI, 3rd August, 2013 (WAM)–The Arab League and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation have urged the warring factions in Syria to suspend fighting during the upcoming Eid Al Fitr holidays.

OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Al Arabi have called for a ceasefire on August 9 in Syria for Eid.

Early in July, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for a similar truce during Ramadan, although there were no takers for the plea.

“But rockets did continue to strafe government areas in the city of Homs, triggering blasts in a weapons depot which killed over 40 people. The explosions in Homs reflects the see-saw nature of the conflict. It shows that despite significant advances by Assad’s military, rebels can still strike back, ” said UAE local English language daily, The Gulf Today, in its editorial on Saturday.

It added that the explosions coincided with a rare visit by President Bashar Al Assad to a former rebel bastion near the capital, Damascus, to mark Army Day.

More than 100,000 people have been killed since the March 2011 rebellion against the tough four-decade rule of the Assads. The revolt later broke out into a civil war, which has displaced millions from their homes.

Nearly two million refugees have fled the sectarian strife, which has rocked the country and shows no sign of easing off. Nearly 5 million people have been rendered homeless as the rest of the world seems to be moving slowly to stem the crisis. The International Committee of the Red Cross said the civil war in Syria left a scar on every aspect of life polity, economy and society in the country.

“However, given the present circumstances, it seems unlikely the rival groups engaged in the long-drawn out conflict will heed the call of the OIC and the Arab League,” the paper observed.

There have been other developments. For its part, the Syria’s opposition National Coalition has cancelled plans for a meeting in Istanbul this weekend focused on forming a provisional government.

It noted that “the problem is that there have been reports of acts of brutality even on the part of the fighters opposing the regime.” UN human rights head Navi Pillay has called for an investigation into the reported mass execution by rebels of Syrian soldiers taken captive in fighting in the north of the nation this week. Pillay said the events took place during a battle for the control of the town of Khan Al Assal in Aleppo.

She added the developments were “deeply shocking” and called for a “thorough independent investigation to determine whether war crimes have been committed.” Rebels seized Khan Al Assal from Assad’s forces last week.

The paper concluded, “All arguments put aside, the immediate concern should be the loss of human lives.” WAM/MN

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