The Syrian army declared a 72-hour ceasefire across the country coinciding with the festival marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The army released an official statement saying, “A ‘regime of silence’ is applied across all territory of the Syrian Arab Republic for 72 hours from 1 AM on 6 July to midnight on 8 July,” on Wednesday.
Though the statement did not declare the ambit of the ceasefire and whether it extends to military action against militant jihadis such as Islamic State or the al-Qaida-affiliated al-Nusra Front, US secretary of state John Kerry said that he hoped for a more ambitious truce in the future.
This is the second time a truce has been declared, after the incident in February when world powers intervened to reach a ceasefire which was later annulled.
There was no immediate indication whether rebel forces opposing the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, would abide by the truce. The ceasefire coincides with the three-day Eid al-Fitr festival marking the end of Ramzan.
Even though a ceasefire has been declared, there were reports of fighting and shelling from many parts of Syria, with rebel groups and the army blaming each other for violations. A British observatory confirmed that Aleppo’s rebel-held eastern areas came under fire on Wednesday morning. A civilian was killed and several wounded in the eastern al-Mashhad district when artillery fire fell near a mosque hosting Eid prayers.