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UN-Backed Ceasefire On In Syria, Violence Halted

A U.N.-backed ceasefire came into force in Syria on Thursday with no major incidents of violence reporting from any part of the Arab country which has been witnessing an uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad for the past 13 months.

Syrian authorities and the Opposition spearheading the revolt against Assad have vowed that they would abide by the ceasefire brokered by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

As U.N.-Arab League special envoy on Syria, Annan had proposed a peace plan that sought a halt to violence and withdrawal of the military from urban centers ahead of finding a peaceful solution to the conflict which has claimed more than 9,000 lives since it broke out in March 2011. Annan's plan also calls for the release of arbitrarily detained people, freedom of movement for journalists and the right to demonstrate.

The Opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) said both it and the rebel Free Syrian Army, a loosely-knit force of mainly army defectors, were committed to the truce but voiced doubts about the Assad regime's sincerity.

Syria's neighbor Turkey, which has to put up with an exodus of Syrian refugees, said it would be "very happy" if the Annan plan succeeded.

"The situation remains calm in all the regions of Syria," media reports quoted Rami Abdel Rahman of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as saying about the ceasefire. Calm prevailed in capital Damascus, Homs, Aleppo, Daraa and other major cities and towns as the ceasefire came into force at 06:00 a.m. On Thursday, activists said.

However, Syrian observers warn that peace is likely to be breached on Friday when demonstrators take to the streets after the customary 'Jumah' prayers.

Bashar al-Assad came to power in Syria 13 years ago following the death of his father Hafez al-Assad who ruled the Middle East country more than three decades often stifling dissent.

by RTT Staff Writer

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