The cease-fire that took effect in Syria on Saturday is formally in place, but reports reveal that it is being violated and is not so promising for bringing permanent peace to the country. Opposition groups claimed that Russian warplanes shelled some cities and that Bashar Assad's forces disturbed the cease-fire 15 times with Russia's support, while Moscow announced that the cease-fire was violated nine times in 24 hours.
Do all these claims bring sanctions on the parties? The High Negotiations Committee (HNC), which is supported by Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, declared that it would send a letter of complaint to the U.N. and other world leaders. It is not hard to guess whether the U.N. or world leaders, who have turned a blind eye to the matter for months, will object to the situation even though they are actually the ones who have given rise to the emergence of such a situation.
At least for the moment, aid organizations are taking advantage of the cessation of conflicts, which helps them take aid to besieged towns. If it goes like this, peace talks will resume on March 7.
What does the agreement, which is dubbed a cease-fire, include? Indeed, there are debates over whether to call it a cease-fire or not. The International Syria Support Group (ISSG) decided in Munich on Feb. 12 that the current state in Syria would be called "an end to hostile attitudes" and that humanitarian aid would be delivered to the country. This phrase is used due to the lack of confidence in a cease-fire, which is more binding. According to a report from Al Jazeera Turk's Ayşe Karabat, violation of the cease-fire stipulates that sanctions must be imposed on the violating parties and some mechanisms must be put in place to monitor the process. Despite this decision, which was made in Munich, it is not certain what sanctions will take effect in the case of the continuation of hostile attitudes. This uncertainty stems from Russia, which is the basic factor that has escalated the Syrian war to the current point. It is a high probability that Russia will act on impulse as news from the region reveals that it reneges on the agreement. Unfortunately, there is not a power or authority that challenges Moscow at the moment.
Moreover, the agreement does not point to disarmament, as it excludes operations against DAESH, al-Nusra Front and other organizations the U.N. Security Council considers terrorists organizations.
Meanwhile, Assad, who gained self-confidence thanks to Russia's support, spoke to Spain's El Pais daily on Feb. 20, and said: "Cease-fires take place between armies and states, not between terrorists and states." With this statement, he clearly declared that he would continue strikes. On the other hand, the opposition stipulates that Russia and Assad must stop attacks, humanitarian corridors must be opened and inmates must be released from prisons for the realization of a cease-fire.
Here is the summary of the current state in Syria. The country is going through a process that cannot be called a cease-fire as it is claimed to have been violated many times even in the first 72 hours. Also, it is not certain what parties the cease-fire includes. There are no concrete sanctions to be imposed on those who disturb the process. Russia has a free hand in Syria, the U.S. is preoccupied with the upcoming presidential elections and Assad makes presumptuous remarks and continues attacks with Russia's support. Moreover, attacks on opposition groups are continuing on the pretext of fighting DAESH and al-Nusra Front. There is neither a power that can stop the rot in Syria nor a healthy mechanism that can help write history in a fair and correct way. As this ostensible situation continues in Syria, unfortunately, peace seems to be a distant dream in the country.