On Saturday the UN Security Council voted unanimously in favor of a ceasefire in Syria, amid an escalation of attacks by pro-Assad forces on Eastern Ghouta that has left at least 520 dead and 2,500 injured in the past five days. The resolution provides for a 30-day nationwide ceasefire, weekly UN aid convoys and medical evacuations, but has several glaring weak points.
- The ceasefire does not apply to ISIS or al-Qaeda, which raises fears that Russia and Assad will invoke the limited presence of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham, an al-Qaeda affiliate, to continue the campaign against Eastern Ghouta.
- No enforcement mechanisms are spelled out, even though the Syrian government has violated past ceasefires and Russia is an unreliable guarantor.
- The violence in Eastern Ghouta is already a direct violation of existing de-escalation agreements backed by Russia, Turkey and Iran in the Astana framework.