SYRIA -- On Tuesday, the ceasefire in Syria. Hundreds of thousands have died in five and a half years of civil war.
Under the deal worked out by the U.S. and Russia, the Assad regime is to stop bombing rebel forces-- and allow humanitarian aid into Aleppo, once Syria’s largest city, now in ruins.
Only a trickle of aid from Turkey made its way into northern Syria Tuesday, where civilians who’ve been through hell are waiting, desperate for food and medicine.
For months -- they’ve been sitting ducks for airstrikes by Syrian and Russian planes, or living under fire from opposition rockets.
But what a difference a day makes.
The ceasefire held even in rebel held Eastern Aleppo. And kids made the most of it, playing outside.
In the lull -- ambulance drivers had time for tea. There were even empty hospital beds.
“We had to change blood-stained sheets 1,000 times a day,” said an Aleppo paramedic. “Today, we’ve only seen patients with the flu.”
If the ceasefire continues to hold for the next seven days, the U.S. and Russia will start coordinating airstrikes against jihadist groups -- including ISIS.
And crucially, the Syrian Air Force will be barred from flying in rebel-held areas.
But one man’s rebel is another’s freedom fighter, and Russia and the U.S. have not seen eye-to-eye on which opposition groups are legitimate targets.
There is plenty of scope yet for this deal to come unstuck.