by Henry Wong
On September 12 in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, the sound of children playing in the street could be heard instead of the typical unending blasts of bombs, gunshots, and airstrikes. This is the result of a ceasefire brokered by Russia and the United States that aims to halt violence between the Syrian regime and rebels and allow for reconstruction of the city. As can be expected, the deal hasn’t worked perfectly, with five unconfirmed incidents of violence as reported by the Aleppo Media Center since sunset the day the ceasefire began. Despite these incidents, this ceasefire has already proven to be more effective than others coordinated in the past. In February, a partial ceasefire was enacted but human rights groups in the area reported numerous airstrikes within a few days the truce started.
Humanitarian organizations like the White Helmets and Save the Children have been crucial in helping those in need but UN involvement has been slow due to the limits placed on deliveries by the Syrian government. The Syrian government is requiring all aid deliveries to be conducted in coordination with it. Ground deliveries are being organized with extreme caution. No more than one convoy will be sent until a first convoy of 20 trucks makes it safely to Aleppo.
The Syrian civil war, which began in 2011, has taken the lives of more than 300,000 people and has forced more than 5 million to flee the country thus creating the largest refugee crisis since World War II. This ceasefire has proven to be a positive step in reducing the amount of conflict in Syria but the uncertainty remains of how long the peace will last.
(At time of publication, the cease fire ended on September 17.)