Syria's military command is still considering a ceasefire proposal in recognition of a major Muslim holiday, following news from a U.N. envoy that the government and opposition fighters had temporarily put down their arms.
The military statement threw into confusion the work of Lakhdar Brahimi, an Algerian veteran U.N. envoy sent to the wartorn country to broker a peace, according to Reuters.
The BBC reported early Wednesday that the Syrian government had agreed to a ceasefire for Eid al-Adha, a celebration in which Muslims mark Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishamel as a sign of his devotion to God. The holiday begins on Friday and lasts for four days.
But it is still unclear whether Assad's military command will lay down their arms.
The news comes less than 24 hours after a tentative ceasefire quelled violence in Lebanon caused by spillover fighting from Syria, and protests over the assassination of the Lebanese intelligence chief Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hassan.
A negotiated Syrian ceasefire in April fell apart within days, according to Reuters, and both sides blamed the other.
Brahimi has been traveling in the region to meet with leaders to quell the 19-month-old fighting in Syria between government troops and rebel factions. He hopes to "allow a political process to develop," according to the BBC. Brahimi hoped this latest ceasefire might provide an opportunity for the warring sides to develop a more permanent ceasefire.
— I'm SM's KT(@imSMKT) October 24, 2012
— Adam Nahas (@aboodyx) October 24, 2012
A Google translation of this unconfirmed tweet indicates planes dropped bombs over Harasta in rural Damascus early Wednesday morning.
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Paul D. Shinkman is a national security reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org