Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a five-hour humanitarian ceasefire in the Eastern Ghouta countryside of the capital Damascus of Syria starting on Feb. 27, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on the evening of Feb. 26, 2018.
It is the seventh year of the Syrian civil war. In order to end the humanitarian catastrophe, all relevant parties should patiently hold consultations, shelve disputes, actively seek consensus and strive to fully implement the cease-fire resolution passed by the UN Security Council.
Russian media reported that the humanitarian ceasefire in the Eastern Ghouta countryside of the capital Damascus of Syria was to run daily from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. local time, starting on Feb. 27.
Shoigu said that humanitarian corridors have been specifically launched for the evacuation of civilians and that their coordinates will be announced shortly.
He added that Russia believes it is necessary to implement a ceasefire and a humanitarian corridor in areas controlled by the US to enable Syrian civilians to return to their homeland and start to lead normal lives.
The UN Security Council resolved on Feb. 24 that the continuous ceasefire throughout the country should last at least 30 days. However, even though the ceasefire resolution was passed, there was still cross-fire in many places in Syria on Feb. 25.
The fight between Syrian government forces and opposition forces was still intense in the Eastern Ghouta. Dozens of civilians were killed in airstrikes against the "Islamic State", an extremist organization in Deir ez-Zor Province, launched by the US and other Western countries. Turkey continues to carry out military operations against Syrian Kurds in Afrin.
Currently, Syria is in turmoil. All the countries involved in the war are carrying out military operations in different regions. Continuous accusations by the various parties against each other make implementation of the resolution difficult.
The Eastern Ghouta is the only place near Damascus where the Syrian armed opposition has strongholds. Russian analysts believe that the main purpose of the US and Western countries' call for a ceasefire in the area is to prevent the Syrian government forces from liberating the region while the US provides supplies to the Syrian opposition and helps it grow.
Turkey's military operations show that Turkey will continue to fight the People's Protection Units, a terrorist organization that threatens the territorial integrity of Syria. Turkey believes that the People's Protection Units is a branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party in Syria, which is classified as a terrorist organization by the Turkish government.
However, the US has always supported People's Protection Units and it is unlikely that it will stop cracking down on the Islamic State.
UN Secretary-General Guterres said on Feb. 26 that the UN Security Council resolution is only meaningful if it is effectively implemented and that the humanitarian disaster in Syria must be ended as soon as possible.
The civil war in Syria has lasted for seven years, causing serious humanitarian catastrophes, mass casualties and displacements. The UN has repeatedly proposed ceasefire initiatives and resolutions but they have not achieved any success.
All relevant parties should patiently hold consultations, shelve disputes, actively seek consensus and strive to fully implement the ceasefire resolution.
Political settlement is the only way to fundamentally end the suffering of the Syrian people. The international community should support all Syrian parties, under the mediation of the UN, as soon as possible through a political process owned and led by the Syrian people to find solutions acceptable to all parties.