U.S. and Russian officials are in the final hours of drafting a United Nations Security Council resolution that would back the Syrian ceasefire deal and effectively ensure its implementation — at least on paper. The meetings between the officials come less than a day before the proposed official start of the ceasefire.
"We are very worried about this becoming international law," said Mohammed Ghanem, a senior political adviser at the Syrian American Council, a grassroots organization based in Chicago with offices in Washington."They are trying to rush it. It has a lot of loopholes and flaws. It will only benefit Russia and the regime," he said.
Ghanem said the ceasefire deal does not grant opposition forces the advantages that are provided to the regime and ignores the opposition's need to defend itself from attacks by terrorist groups.
Put forward by the U.S. and Russia, the ceasefire plan took its current shape after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke on the phone, according to the State Department. It is unclear whether Kerry spoke to his counterpart in Iran, but the State Department said this week that the Middle Eastern country, as well as the regime of President Bashar Assad, had been contacted and agreed to the deal. It is unclear whether the Syrian opposition was briefed.
“If implemented and adhered to, this cessation will not only lead to a decline in violence but also continue to expand the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian supplies to besieged areas and support a political transition,” Kerry said in a statement Monday.
The details in the ceasefire document are sparse and do not clearly define the scope of the plan. The document does not describe who would monitor the ceasefire on the ground and which country or international body would be in charge of reporting ceasefire violations.
U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura is set to report to the U.N. Security Council on Friday, a few hours before the ceasefire is due to take effect. If the ceasefire holds, the envoy plans to convene a new round of peace talks next week, according to Agence France-Presse.