Syria Agrees to UN Ceasefire
There may be a temporary pause Thursday in the violence that has plagued Syria for more than a year, but the U.S. does not have high hopes.
In a statement released Wednesday through the country's state run media, Assad's regime agreed to a UN-prompted ceasefire to take effect Thursday morning.
"A decision has been taken to stop these missions as of the morning of Thursday, April 12, 2012. Our armed forces are ready to repulse any aggression carried out by the armed terrorist groups against civilians or troops," read the statement.
Syria's current dynasty, headed by Bashar Assad, has been in power for more than forty years.
Armed rebels have been rising up against the government since early 2011, but Assad's regime refuses to recognize the internal struggles.
It blames the problems on foreign terrorist groups, and included in its statement today an assertion that it will continue to defend itself against such terrorists despite the ceasefire. Syria can also use its pro-regime gunmen, or shabiha, to carry out its orders in the absence of the military.
Citizens have suffered a great deal from the violence, and the government's harsh use of force against its own people as well as its assistance from outside countries has drawn out the violence for over a year with no end in sight.
Assad's government has received support from Russia and China, and it is currently seeking additional aid from neighboring Iran.
Syria's agreement to abide by the ceasefire comes as welcome news to the U.N., as it has struggled to find realistic ways to quell the country's violence. It has decided not to intervene militarily, and other efforts have failed to change the bloody situation.
Rebel groups in Syria have agreed to abide by the ceasefire's terms as well, which is to take effect Thursday morning at 6 a.m..
The ceasefire could bring a lull in the country's consistent bloodshed, but for now the UN and western countries are not getting their hopes up.
When asked about Syria's promise, White House Spokesman Jay Carney said, "What is important to remember is that we judge the Assad's regime by their actions and not by their promises, because their promises have proven so frequently in the past to be empty."