Syria Rebels say ceasefire “totally collapsed”

Exclusive to The Middle East Online

Edited by Nelly Tawil

Militant groups in Syria have said they will no longer abide by the ceasefire unless the Syrian army ends a major offensive on their positions in the suburbs of Damascus within 48 hours.

A statement with the signatures of around 29 rebel groups was released by members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) saying they would consider the ceasefire “totally collapsed” unless the Syrian government stopped bombarding their strongholds around Damascus within 48 hours.

“We are giving the sponsors of the ceasefire 48 hours to rescue what remains of the accord and to force the criminal regime of Assad and his allies to completely and immediately halt their brutal offensive against Daraya and Eastern Ghouta,” the statement said, referring to the areas outside Damascus. The town of Daraya, near the capital of Damascus, has been under a strict siege by the regime since 2012.

“Rebel groups will take all possible measures and respond with all means to defend our people and on all fronts until the regime totally halts its offensives against all liberated regions, especially Daraya, and pulls back to its pre-May 14 positions,” the rebels added.

They were therefore considering withdrawing from a “futile political process,” which gave “legitimate cover to continue the crimes and massacres by the criminal Assad regime and its allies.”