Syrian government forces drive a tank on a road during a military operation against the Islamic State (IS) group in the villages of Zarour and Khanaser, in the Aleppo governorate, on February 26, 2016. (AFP/GEORGES OURFALIAN)
BEIRUT (AP) — Warplanes unleashed airstrikes Friday against rebel-held positions in the suburbs of the Syrian capital of Damascus and near the northern city of Aleppo, hours before a ceasefire brokered by the United States and Russia was to go into effect at midnight local time across the war-ravaged country.
If the cessation of hostilities holds, it would be the first time international negotiations have brought any degree of quiet in Syria’s five-year civil war. But success requires adherence by multiple armed factions. Also, it is made more fragile because it allows fighting to continue against the Islamic State group and the al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s branch in the country — which could easily re-ignite broader warfare.