Syria Cease-Fire Nearly Dead, As Three Die in Cross-Border Violence
The main point I wanted to get across in this post was that the idea that Syria would agree to a UN-brokered cease-fire was really wishful thinking. And sure enough, over the weekend, the Syrian regime figured out an excuse to stop implementation of the cease-fire. They simply added an additional demand, seeking written guarantees from the rebels that they would not attack, in addition to guarantees from outside governments to end their support of those opposition forces. This is an unreasonable request, according to the opposition, and so there will be no cease-fire on the Tuesday deadline.
But worse, we now have reports of cross-border attacks on two fronts. Refugees have fled Syria for Turkey, for example, but regime troops have fired over into the refugee camp:
Turkish officials said on Monday that Syrian government forces had opened fire across the border late Sunday, killing two people and wounding three others close to one of the largest Syrian refugee camps in Turkey.
Reports from the area seemed confused, with some accounts from activists inside Syria saying that a large number of reinforcements for the government troops, backed by tanks and helicopters, had arrived close to Turkish territory. A Turkish government official said the three people who were wounded — two Syrians and a Turkish translator — were hit when they tried and failed to rescue two unidentified civilians who were shot and killed near the border.
Now we’re talking about provoking a wider regional war. Especially because Turkey is a NATO member country.
Further, this is not the only cross-border attack of the past 48 hours. A journalist died amid gunfire on the Syria-Lebanon border. So there are at least two cases where Syrian forces fired across national borders and killed people.
The risk of intervention gets higher with more of these incidents. Not to mention the reports by Human Rights Watch of summary executions of protesters captured by Syrian forces.
Moreover, the stature of the United Nations will take another hit with this ineffectual peace deal brokered by former Secretary-General Kofi Annan. It was so doomed to defeat, I don’t know why anyone on the Security Council with an interest in protecting that stature would agree to it.