Terrorists seeks urgent ceasefire to delay heavy defeat
Press TV has interviewed Manuel Ochsenreiter, editor-in-chief of Zuerst in Berlin, to discuss a recent report by the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which says the Syrian government and opposition groups are negotiating a 15-day ceasefire in the Eastern Ghouta region.
The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Certainly, ceasefires are good things, but is this also an indication that these groups are scared?
Ochsenreiter: Yes absolutely. We have to see the ceasefire in the context of gaining ground of the Syrian army, especially in the Eastern Ghouta in the start of November. Since the beginning of November, the Syrian army has been pushing in the Eastern Ghouta, which is by the way one of the important strongholds of Jaish al-Islam.
So there are strategic interests when it comes to ceasefires and usually you are not asking for a ceasefire in the position of total strength. If we see how the terrorists were acting in the past years; they had always unlimited supply of weapons, unlimited supply of fighters, unlimited supply of other resources needed for the war.
We have, since longer time now, Russian air raids which are directed not only against the Islamic State (Daesh), but all terrorist formations, including the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) formations and also Jaish al-Islam.
So we can see the [request] for a ceasefire of course is one of the consequences of the decisive fight against the terrorist forces in Syria in cooperation between the Russian air attacks and the Syrian army on the ground.
Press TV: So then going forward, do you think we will see more ceasefires coming up?
Ochsenreiter: It is very likely that in this situation the terrorist forces might change their strategic option, because their strategic option until now was to hold ground and to expand the ground. Then we can say that this face of the war definitely [is] stopped and now the strategic aim must be how to secure what they have and how to secure especially their fighters and their commanders. To secure your fighters and your commanders, a ceasefire is a perfect decision. That means automatically for the other side, for the Syrian government, to be also careful with the instrument of a ceasefire because we know from other armed conflicts, let me just mention for example in eastern Ukraine where Ukrainian army and Ukrainian volunteer units were using ceasefire time for reforming their military forces for the next attacks, s o ceasefire is a big chance and a big risk or can be a big risk at the same time and we should also be careful with the sources of our information. You mentioned the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in London; it is not the most objective and not the most neutral source for information. So I personally look very much for information coming via the Syrian sate media and via the Syrian side of the negotiations.