UN Envoy Says Syrian Authorities Agree To Holiday Truce
October 24, 2012
UN and Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, says the Syrian government and some rebel groups have tentatively agreed to a truce during the Eid al-Adha holiday.
Speaking in Cairo on October 24, Brahimi said the Syrian government would issue a statement regarding its full acceptance on October 24 or October 25.
The envoy said most of the other factions also agreed in principle on the cease-fire. Brahimi did not specify which of the several Syrian rebels groups in Syria he contacted.
The Eid al-Adha holiday starts on October 26 and lasts three or four days.
Ahead of Brahimi's announcement, Syrian warplanes raided rebel-held areas in the northwestern Idlib Province and the Irbin and Harasta suburbs of Damascus.
Rebels Have U.S. High-Tech Weapons
In related news, the chief of the general staff of Russia's armed forces says Syrian rebels are using portable air defense systems produced in a variety of countries, including the United States.
General Nikolai Makarov said on October 24 that the rebels are now armed with U.S.-made Stinger surface to air missiles, which can be fired by a single soldier.
Makarov did not elaborate on the source of his information.
He noted that the "Americans are denying this, saying they did not ship anything to the militants."
Syrian rebels have shot down several government warplanes and helicopters in recent months.
Russia's Foreign Ministry said earlier this month Syrian rebels were using small, portable air defense missiles and warned that arming the fighters with such weapons was "an extremely dangerous step."
Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, AP, ITAR-TASS and Interfax
Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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