The U.N. Security Council gave unanimous backing Wednesday to a four-day Syrian truce proposed by its mediator for a major Muslim holiday, and the Russian ambassador said the Assad regime seemed receptive.
"We have had indications that they are accepting the proposal of Mr. Brahimi," Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters after a closed-door meeting of the council during which Lakhdar Brahimi briefed council members via video link from Egypt, Reuters reported.
Brahimi told the council members a final announcement of a ceasefire with rebels was expected Thursday. Churkin seemed to confirm remarks Brahimi made earlier Wednesday in Cairo, when he said the government had indicated its acceptance.
The council issued a statement after its meeting supporting the ceasefire, which would begin Friday and last for several days at least during the Islamic holiday Eid al-Adha, and urging "all regional and international actors to use their influence" to ensure the truce is implemented.
"The members of the council agreed that an Eid al-Adha ceasefire could be a first step towards a sustainable cessation of all violence," the council said.
But previous cease-fire missions have failed, in part because neither Syrian President Bashar al- Assad nor the rebels had an incentive to end their bloody war of attrition. Both sides believe they can still make gains on the battlefield even as they are locked in a stalemate, and neither has faith in negotiations on a political transition.
The Security Council is normally divided on Syria, but Assad allies Russia and China joined in endorsing the idea of a temporary truce that is meant to pave the way for talks on ending Syria's 19-month-old conflict.
As Brahimi briefed the Security Council, the death toll since the start of the conflict in March 2011 crossed the threshold of 35,000, activists told the Associated Press, and more violence was reported across the country.