Video: Kerry announces cease-fire in Syria

posted at 12:01 pm on February 12, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

A complete cease-fire? Not exactly, according to Reuters. John Kerry announced a “unanimous” agreement for a cease-fire between the Syrian government and native opposition forces that the US has backed but Russia has targeted in its bombing campaigns. The fight against ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra will continue:

The primary motivation for this decision is to address the humanitarian crisis — and maybe curtail the flight of refugees and the destabilization that has wrought:

The United States, Russia and other powers agreed to a “cessation of hostilities” in Syria’s civil war, to take place within the next week, and immediate humanitarian access to besieged areas, Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced here early Friday.

“It was unanimous,” Kerry said of a communique issued after hours of meetings among participants in a group of nations that have supported and armed one side or the other in the four-year war. “Everybody today agreed,” he said. But the proof of commitment will come only with implementation. “What we have here are words on paper,” Kerry said. “What we need to see in the next few days are actions on the ground.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the projected date for ending at least some of his country’s airstrikes in Syria is a week from Friday, but he emphasized that “terrorist” groups would continue to be targeted, including the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria that is involved in the fight against President Bashar al-Assad. The group in some instances fights alongside rebel forces supported by the United States and its allies.

Bashar al-Assad insists that he will not stop fighting “terrorism,” and that “the two tracks are separate from each other”:

It all depends on how one defines terrorism. Until now, Assad and his Russian counterparts have made no distinction between supposed Syrian moderate rebels and Nusra and ISIS. While the US has focused attacks on the latter, both Assad and Vladimir Putin have focused on the former, primarily in western Syria, as a means to regain control of population centers within their grasp. The moderates have looked to the US to make good on their promises of support, to little avail, at least until now.

This cease-fire will play to Assad’s advantage in those negotiations. It should be clear by now to the moderate forces that US assistance means very little. They will need to make their peace with Assad soon and await another opportunity to replace the regime when the Russians get bored with propping up the dictator. That might be good news for the fight against ISIS, but it also might mean that Russia will bail out of that fight once Assad’s position has been re-secured. At the very least, it will give an opening for humanitarian efforts, and perhaps a reason for Syrian refugees to stay put or go home.

All of this depends, of course, on whether Assad and Sergei Lavrov really mean any of what they say at this point. They may be hoping to give the Obama administration an easy way out of the region, and expecting them to take it.


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Video: Kerry announces cease-fire in Syria

…he’s a comedian?

JugEarsButtHurt on February 12, 2016 at 12:04 PM

Hey, can we please fast forward to President Trump already? I can’t take this guy anymore.

Paperclips on February 12, 2016 at 12:05 PM

Such bullchit.

The Russians are permitted to keep on bombing.

Schadenfreude on February 12, 2016 at 12:05 PM

Can he extend that to include cities like Baltimore, Chicago, and Detroit?

ShainS on February 12, 2016 at 12:06 PM

Good luck with that. Is he going to bring James Taylor there to do a concert for them?

MassConservative on February 12, 2016 at 12:06 PM

Kerry also thanked obama’s financiers and patrons, the Iranians, for taking our Soldiers hostage, making them cry and telling them who their new masters are.

Kerry and obama s/b tried for treason.

Schadenfreude on February 12, 2016 at 12:06 PM

Good, now that that’s settled, come back to the US and seek the Dem nomination for POTUS…

mjbrooks3 on February 12, 2016 at 12:06 PM

He negotiated the cease fire. Unfortunate for the people of the New Russian State of Alaska.

Oh well. They’ll get used to it.

Skipity on February 12, 2016 at 12:07 PM

This used to be known as surrendering, but with Obama it is always about semantics!!

Deano1952 on February 12, 2016 at 12:10 PM

“What we have here are words on paper,” Kerry said.

Was he waving that piece of paper like a white flag when he said it?

CurtZHP on February 12, 2016 at 12:11 PM

By Sunday morning Lurch will be explaining that cease-fire didn’t mean cease-fire it meant a better chance of another cease-fire after the shooting stops.

Limerick on February 12, 2016 at 12:11 PM

I can’t believe the Russians saved the day. What would that country look like if Assad fell? I’m grateful for the ceasefire and hope both sides can jointly re-calibrate their focus on ISIS and Nusra but jeez, if Putin hadn’t stepped in with decisive action this could’ve been a never ending disaster.

MidAtlantic Moderate on February 12, 2016 at 12:12 PM

“It was unanimous,” Kerry said

Hogwash.

forest on February 12, 2016 at 12:13 PM

All of this depends, of course, on whether Assad and Sergei Lavrov really mean any of what they say at this point. They may be hoping to give the Obama administration an easy way out of the region, and expecting them to take it.

Of course they’ll take it.

Happy Nomad on February 12, 2016 at 12:14 PM

These guys, they’ve lied their way through elections and phony economic reports etc, but they still haven’t figured out that you can’t bulls**t your way through a war.

forest on February 12, 2016 at 12:14 PM

“Well that’s good enough for us!”

— The Nobel committee

otlset on February 12, 2016 at 12:15 PM

I other words, Russia decides to quit p*ss*ng money away on artillery for a pointless cause and Obama decides to start p*ss*ing money away on humanitarian aid for a pointless cause.

lowandslow on February 12, 2016 at 12:15 PM

“What we have here are words on paper,” Kerry said.

Was he waving that piece of paper like a white flag when he said it?

CurtZHP on February 12, 2016 at 12:11 PM

No but he was apologizing for all the inconvenience and thanking Assad and Putin for keeping us safe.

tej on February 12, 2016 at 12:16 PM

So this time we’ve completely destroyed the JV ISIS team, so no need to do any more…..

dentarthurdent on February 12, 2016 at 12:20 PM

Piece in our time!

Steve Eggleston on February 12, 2016 at 12:21 PM

So can now all the Muslim refugees in Germany go back home?

albill on February 12, 2016 at 12:21 PM

Obama needs ISIL to consolidate its forces.

Joseph K on February 12, 2016 at 12:22 PM

So can now all the Muslim refugees in Germany go back home?

albill on February 12, 2016 at 12:21 PM

They ARE home.

Angela Merkel on February 12, 2016 at 12:23 PM

Steve Eggleston on February 12, 2016 at 12:23 PM

“What we have here are words on paper,” Kerry said.

IOW, the culmination of Obama’s foreign policy summed up in 8 words.

Steve_in_SoCal on February 12, 2016 at 12:26 PM

Then we don’t need to bring in anymore Rapefugees right?

ConstantineXI on February 12, 2016 at 12:27 PM

1/4 million dead later. There will be that many more at least

wolly4321 on February 12, 2016 at 12:27 PM

“What we have here are words on paper,” Kerry said.

What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.

Steve Eggleston on February 12, 2016 at 12:28 PM

Peace in our time eh, Lurch?

Occams Stubble on February 12, 2016 at 12:33 PM

House of Saud chimes in:

SAUDI ARABIA
1h
Saudi FM says objective in Syria is removal of Assad, and ‘we will achieve it’ – Al-Arabiya
see original on twitter.com
===========================

http://www.breakingnews.com/topic/syria-uprising/

canopfor on February 12, 2016 at 12:40 PM

“What we have here are words on paper,” Kerry said.

I won’t believe it unless I see him actually waving the piece of paper in the air.

Peace in our time eh, Lurch?

Occams Stubble on February 12, 2016 at 12:33 PM

“The settlement of the Syrian problem, which has now been achieved is, in my view, only the prelude to a larger settlement in which all the Mideast and Europe may find peace. This morning I had another talk with the Supreme Leader of Iran, Herr Ali Khamenei, and President of Russia, Herr Vladimir Putin, and here is the paper which bears their names upon it as well as mine.”

LashRambo on February 12, 2016 at 12:42 PM

They must think they have flooded Europe enough for the collapse to happen.

artist on February 12, 2016 at 12:43 PM

Shrug. This is what Russia was after from the get-go. Basically an affirmation that Assad can keep what he has managed to hold on to, which means Russia gets to keep the Syrian coast as a client state.

Count to 10 on February 12, 2016 at 12:44 PM

What will Turkey do?

moebius22 on February 12, 2016 at 12:44 PM

Bashar al-Assad insists that he will not stop fighting “terrorism,” and that “the two tracks are separate from each other”:

So, in other words, nothing will change. Great job, Team Obozo.

goflyers on February 12, 2016 at 12:45 PM

I love the Baghdad Bob Arm of the State Department. Everything is a victory and could not have been possible without Teh Won.

antipc on February 12, 2016 at 12:45 PM

Superior Smart Power PipeyDreamy:
———————————

SYRIA
17h
US Secretary of State John Kerry says Syria agreement is only on paper and ‘no one is following a pipe dream’ while trying to broker aid deliveries and nationwide ceasefire – @margbrennan
see original on twitter.com
=============================

SYRIA
17h
US Secretary of State John Kerry says goal is to begin nationwide ceasefire in Syria in 1 week; aid to begin immediately
end of alert
=============

http://www.breakingnews.com/topic/syria-uprising/

canopfor on February 12, 2016 at 12:51 PM

…if Lurch wasn’t the perfecv nickname for this tool I dunno what is…

Pelosi Schmelosi on February 12, 2016 at 12:59 PM

So can now all the Muslim refugees in Germany go back home?

albill on February 12, 2016 at 12:21 PM

Who cares? Stupid Germans…. And the French can bite me too.

hal_mccombs on February 12, 2016 at 1:05 PM

It all depends on how one defines terrorism. Until now, Assad and his Russian counterparts have made no distinction between supposed Syrian moderate rebels and Nusra and ISIS. While the US has focused attacks on the latter, both Assad and Vladimir Putin have focused on the former,

Baloney. That is just neocon propaganda. The truth is that Assad and Putin have focused on al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra, and other jihadist groups. It would make no sense for them to focus on the “moderate” (Free Syrian Army) rebels because they are few in number and weak compared to the jihadists. Al-Nusra and other jihadist groups are about 80% of the non-ISIS rebel forces.

So if this cease-fire only apples to the “moderate” rebels, it will change almost nothing. Around Aleppo, where the fiercest fighting is now, the FSA is almost non-existent. The only place this cease-fire could significantly reduce the fighting is in the south, around Daraa.

Jon0815 on February 12, 2016 at 1:15 PM

This is a big deal about nothing. Assad will act as he chooses and Russia will as well.

Zomcon JEM on February 12, 2016 at 1:31 PM

Unfortunately, for Lurch, that cease-fire doesn’t apply here at home when it comes to his incompetence, and that of his boss (JalVar).

Another Drew on February 12, 2016 at 2:11 PM

Ed, I agree with your skepticism but I think we should keep it in context. Yesterday, the Syrian conflict was in an all out battle royal. Everyone was fighting everyone. There were no rules. Not even a ban on the use of chemical weapons. While fragile, this truce is the first step towards establishing order in a wartorn region and will help all parties focus on the real enemy – Daesh. It’s a positive step in the right direction that, with momentum, can lead to more positive steps down the road.

ConservOvrGOP on February 12, 2016 at 2:17 PM

Smart Power

Schadenfreude on February 12, 2016 at 2:40 PM

Meanwhile the oaf in chief wastes all that fuel, and taxdollars, to collect dough, as a front for gay trip to Palm Springs, for Valentines.

Schadenfreude on February 12, 2016 at 3:46 PM

Incompetents are running this country.

Krupnikas on February 12, 2016 at 4:01 PM

Did anyone tell the Syrians?

James on February 12, 2016 at 7:17 PM

Kerry begins his performance with “Stop me if you’ve heard this one …”

I believe all parties agreed because there was a severe logistical problem in getting munitions to region and combatants needed time to perform maintenance and reload arsenals and so on.

virgo on February 13, 2016 at 11:24 AM

“What we have here are words on paper,” Kerry said.

But none of the people actually involved in the conflict participated…

…so what we REALLY have is “A tale told by an idiot, signifying NOTHING”!!

landlines on February 13, 2016 at 5:16 PM