Finally a Syrian ceasefire agreement has been put in place. If history teaches us anything, we will have continuous breaches of the agreement and few complete breakdowns. There is no sense in debating who is at fault because the reality is both sides are. The one area that is of concern is the breach of the international border.
In truth, how that breach came to be will be a mystery. What we do know is that refugee camps have been safety zones and recruitment camps for rebel forces. Also we know that Turkey is on record supporting the opposition forces. With those two realities it is very easy to calculate that the camps in Turkey are opposition strong holds and military equipment is passing through this border.
What is the current government of Syria to do? Their neighbour is openly supporting the opposition groups and calling for the current leadership in Syria to step down. This situation is one that breeds mistrust and weakens the possibility of peace.
The only people that should be listened to are the Syrian people. Right now many media outlets are a mouth piece and the information is highly questionable from both sides. Most foreign news outlets focus on the Friends of Syria which openly supports more weapons, violence and the fall of government. The media inside Syria is state run and equal in bias as the opposition. Each point of accusation is one that can be made towards both sides.
With the ceasefire agreement there is to be an Observer Force. Now it is beyond my comprehension why such a force is still waiting for approval for the United Nations Security Council. This Council knew months ago of this condition and yet is only now putting the force together. This force should have been on the ground two minutes after the agreement went into force, not days or weeks.
When the Observers do land in Syria there will be more opportunity for balanced information. Again the opportunity will be there, let us hope that both sides allow the Observers to do their jobs openly and without hassle.
As mentioned before, Turkey is fast becoming a thorn in this situation. Turkey has called upon NATO to assist with border protection and security. To me NATO has about as much credibility as the Syrian government. Many of the NATO members have called for and supplied military equipment to opposition forces. Due to that fact there is little trust in NATO to be fair or equal in its operational ideology.
At the moment we have a very difficult spot when it comes to international intervention/observation. The people will all have issues of credibility that come to the task of intervention. However the focus has to be on the process more so than the people. With that understanding the ceasefire agreement needs to be strongly supported by all sides.
The next step is to focus on the discussion for peaceful society. The call to protest that was given by opposition forces was wrong. Such a tactic only ignites the flames of hatred. The call should have been for discussion of peace not protest. The focus of the discussions have already been pointed out and agreed to by the people of Syria and the current leadership. The referendum of 26 Feb is the starting point.
There is always a way towards peace. However it takes a great deal of effort to look past the injustices people feel have been incurred. The chance for peace is here if the people have enough wisdom to work together. Sadly it has been my experience that the desire to seek revenge will win for now. I sincerely hope the ceasefire agreement holds forever.