Syria and the United Nations signed a preliminary agreement this week governing the responsibilities of the Syrian government and armed opposition groups for keeping a ceasefire that U.N. monitors will oversee, after 13 months of bloodshed.
Here is a summary of the main points of the agreement:
RESPONSIBILITIES OF SYRIAN GOVERNMENT
- "Cease armed violence in all its forms; complete the pullback of all Syrian army military concentrations and their heavy weapons from inside and around population centers and return them to their barracks or their places of temporary deployment"; implement other elements of the agreement with international mediator Kofi Annan.
- Syrian government will ensure "maintenance of security and law and order through the use of its police and law enforcement agencies in a manner consistent with international humanitarian and human rights law."
- It will also ensure the safety of all U.N. staff "without prejudice to the freedom of movement for all personnel", and "full and unimpeded access of humanitarian personnel to all populations in need of assistance".
- No agreement was reached on the U.N. use of planes or helicopters. This "may be discussed and agreed at a later date".
- Syrian government will allow "unhindered access of U.N. personnel to any facility, location, individual or group considered of interest".
- Syria's armed forces may "continue to maintain the security of strategic assets and installations, eg ports, airports, highways, refineries etc"
RESPONSIBILITIES OF ARMED GROUPS
The following responsibilities are "to be confirmed by (Annan) with and in respect of the armed opposition groups and relevant elements":
- "A complete halt to the fighting and a sustained cessation of armed violence in all its forms.
- Freedom of movement for U.N. staff, no threat to their security, and full access for humanitarian personnel to all populations in need of assistance.
- Armed opposition groups must "cease all acts of aggression against Syrian army formations, bases, convoys and infrastructure ... (and) against government agencies, buildings, infrastructure as well as private and public properties and not hinder the resumption of public services".
- They must also "commit to stop all illegal activities according to Syrian law, including assassinations, kidnapping or vandalism; and to return all public and private property, stolen through violence, to their rightful owners".
- They must "refrain from training, re-arming, regrouping or re-organizing military formations ... cease public and private display of weapons ... commit, in accordance with Syrian law, not to conduct or initiate activities such as establishing checkpoints, conducting patrols or policing activities (and) allow the safe return of all affected people to their places of residence".
- HEAVY WEAPONS: All weapons with a caliber above 14.5 millimeters, including artillery pieces, tanks, mortars, rocket propelled grenades, anti-tank weapons and anti-aircraft weapons systems. Armored personnel carriers are not considered heavy weapons if mounted weapons above 7.62 mm caliber are disabled.
- PULL BACK FROM POPULATION CENTRES: This means the movement of army concentrations to their barracks or temporary locations at least 2 to 3 km outside the perimeter of the population centers (cities, towns or villages). This does not apply to barracks which already exist within cities and towns.
(Editing by Tim Pearce)