This remains one of the most fluid almanis forecast markets. Not only are the facts on the ground changing and hard to get at, the very meaning of “ceasefire” seems open to some interpretation among its signatories. Some of you might be wondering how it remains in force even in the face of fierce fighting seen in recent days.
Last Wednesday, the UN’s special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura stated that the ceasefire was around “50%” in force and the aim was “80%-90%”. How he arrives at these numbers is anyone’s guess but the simple point, in terms of forecasting this question, is that this is a flexible rather than absolute ceasefire. This should raise the chances of it holding, all else being equal.
Personally, I look on the ceasefire as the fig leaf that allows all sides to remain at the negotiation table while bombing each other away from it. Given that both Russia and the US are heavily involved now, this is a massively important geopolitical fig leaf. There is currently a stand-off occurring as deadlines draw near and we should expect very significant developments in the coming days.
This is very tricky. I’m simply going to restate the “Settlement Detail” from the question page and suggest that if you have any questions, get in touch. For the avoidance of doubt, if the amalgamated opposition forces within Syria refuse to sign up to a renewed ceasefire and Russia consequently deems them fair game, as they have threatened to do, that will constitute a failure of the ceasefire.
“Settlement Detail: This question will settle as false if there is a widespread resumption of armed conflict between parties of the Syrian ceasefire, backed up by an official announcement from Russia, the US, the UN, the Syrian government or opposition stating that the ceasefire is over. Isolated violations of the truce will not be considered enough to settle this question as false.”
- 23rd May: Opposition forces have given pro-regime forces 48hrs to halt their bombardments or they will conclude that the ceasefire is officially over (Al Jazeera)
- 20th May: Russia states that any opposition group failing to sign up the ceasefire this week will face renewed bombing (The Times – £)
- 20th May: Russia proposes joint US-Russian airstrikes in Syria beginning 25th May (TASS)
- 18th May: UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura is aiming for an “80%-90%” adherence to the ceasefire (Sputnik News)
Staying Ahead of the News:
- Keep an eye on the US State Department and the Russian Foreign Ministry for the official line from the two major players. Also look to the Russian Ministry of Defence for daily operational updates from the front and balance them with the updates coming from the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War and the independent, western-leaning Syria Direct news agency.