But if terrorists continue to attack the armed forces would retaliate, warned the general command of the army
The Syrian army has said it will halt all military operations beginning Friday morning in response to a proposal for a temporary ceasefire by international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.
The general command of the army added in a statement broadcast on Syrian state television that it would abide by a truce during the four-day Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which starts on Friday.
“Our armed forces preserve the right to respond if the terrorist armed groups continue to fire on civilians and government troops, attack public and private properties and use car bombs and explosives,” read the statement.
It added that there would also be responses if the rebels took advantage of the truce to reinforce their positions and get military supplies, or if neighbouring countries facilitated “terrorists’ passage” into Syria.
The rebel Free Syrian Army said its fighters would abide by the truce and called for the release of all prisoners held by the Syrian government starting on Friday, the Dubai-based broadcaster al-Arabiya reported.
Brahimi said he hoped that the truce would clear the way for initiating a political solution to Syria’s 20-month conflict.
The United States expressed scepticism over the ceasefire, saying the Syrian regime has not proved that that it can uphold agreements.
“What we are hoping and expecting is that they will not just talk the talk of ceasefire, but that they will walk the walk, beginning with the regime,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said at a briefing with reporters in Washington. “And we will be watching very closely.” She added that any day in Syria without violence could be considered progress, and if a ceasefire can be put in place, it might open the way for more work to be done on a transition to a new government.
Russia welcomed the planned ceasefire as “fundamentally important.” Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in Moscow the plan opened the door to a political solution to end the fighting.
The Syrian opposition was sceptical about the Syrian government’s adherence.
“We do not have any trust in the regime, which has not kept any promise,” said Burhan Ghalioun, a former head of the main opposition group, the Syrian National Council.
The Al-Nusra Front, an Islamist militant Syrian opposition group, has already rejected Brahimi’s proposal.
“There is no truce between us and this regime, which is shedding the blood of Muslims,” the group said in a statement posted on the internet.
The United Nations Security Council and China have both backed Brahimi’s efforts to broker the truce.