Tuesday, September 13, 2016
FALSE US-RUSSIA-SYRIA PEACE DEAL COMES INTO EFFECT-BUT I GIVE IT A FEW DAYS AT THE MOST AND SOME ARAB-MUSLIM WILL BREAK IT.
28 And when these things begin to come to pass,(ALL THE PROPHECY SIGNS FROM THE BIBLE) then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption (RAPTURE) draweth nigh.
29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree,(ISRAEL) and all the trees;(ALL INDEPENDENT COUNTRIES)
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.(ISRAEL LITERALLY BECAME AND INDEPENDENT COUNTRY JUST BEFORE SUMMER IN MAY 14,1948.)
3 A fire devoureth (ATOMIC BOMB) before them;(RUSSIAN-ARAB-MUSLIM ARMIES AGAINST ISRAEL) and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.(ATOMIC BOMB AFFECT)
12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their eyes shall consume away in their holes,(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB) and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.(DISOLVED FROM ATOMIC BOMB)(BECAUSE NUKES HAVE BEEN USED ON ISRAELS ENEMIES)(GOD PROTECTS ISRAEL AND ALWAYS WILL)
13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour.(1/2-3 BILLION DIE IN WW3)(THIS IS AN ATOMIC BOMB EFFECT)
47 And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.
18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.
1 For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven;(FROM ATOMIC BOMBS) and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
And here are the bounderies of the land that Israel will inherit either through war or peace or God in the future. God says its Israels land and only Israels land. They will have every inch God promised them of this land in the future.
Egypt east of the Nile River, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, The southern part of Turkey and the Western Half of Iraq west of the Euphrates. Gen 13:14-15, Psm 105:9,11, Gen 15:18, Exe 23:31, Num 34:1-12, Josh 1:4.ALL THIS LAND ISRAEL WILL DEFINATELY OWN IN THE FUTURE, ITS ISRAELS NOT ISHMAELS LAND.12 TRIBES INHERIT LAND IN THE FUTURE
What Netanyahu means when he talks about ‘ethnic cleansing’-PM has made clear for years that he rejects a two-state solution that completely separates Israelis and Palestinians. Instead, he envisions a deal allowing settlers to stay put. He probably didn’t think his latest video on the issue would spark a diplomatic spat-By Raphael Ahren September 11, 2016, 4:53 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
By Sunday afternoon, the video in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posits that dismantling Jewish West Bank settlements in the framework of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement is akin to “ethnic cleansing” had garnered nearly a million views, 14,000 likes, numerous condemnations from Israeli politicians and a stinging rebuke from the American government.“Ethnic cleansing for peace is absurd. It’s about time somebody said it. I just did,” Netanyahu said at the end of the two-minute clip. But Netanyahu did not invent this controversial comparison on Friday afternoon, when the clip appeared on his social media accounts. He has made the argument, in various mutations, throughout his political career. In the 2000 edition of his book “A Durable Peace,” written before his watershed Bar-Ilan speech conditionally accepting the two-state solution, he flatly rejected the notion of a “hostile, Judenrein Palestinian state.” Even if the entire world supports it, the campaign for a West Bank free of Jews is based “not on justice but on injustice,” he argued at the time.In January 2014, after he had accepted, in principle, the idea of a Palestinian state, he told CTV, Canada’s leading television network, that Israel’s Arab minority has full rights and is not asked to change their religion. “Now in the Palestinian state,” he added, “the way it’s being contemplated, they’re saying: Well, no Jew can live there, it has to be Jew free — ethnic cleansing. Well, what is that? There are Arabs who live here, but they can’t contemplate Jews living there.”Ten months later, in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation,” he sought to rebut Washington’s consistent critique of Israel’s settlement expansions using the same logic. “It’s against the American values. And it doesn’t bode well for peace,” he said. “The idea that we’d have this ethnic purification as a condition for peace, I think it’s anti-peace.”The Prime Minister’s Office again cited ostensible ethnic cleansing of Jewish settlers just last month. Responding to criticism by a senior United Nations official, Netanyahu’s foreign media adviser, David Keyes — who is behind Netanyahu’s viral videos — argued that it is not the presence of Jews in the West Bank but the Palestinian refusal to recognize a Jewish state in any borders that is the true barrier to peace.“The claim that it is illegal for Jews to build in Jerusalem is as absurd as saying Americans can’t build in Washington or the French can’t build in Paris,” Keyes said. “The Palestinian demand to ethnically cleanse their future state of Jews is outrageous and should be condemned by the United Nations instead of being embraced by it.”Amid the widespread criticism Netanyahu’s latest video elicited, many are wondering about his motives. Ethnic cleansing is widely considered a crime against humanity; the clip can thus be seen as a premeditated slap in the face of the Americans and indeed the entire international community for demanding that Israel agree to such a practice, some pundits said.Others blamed the polls. Over the weekend, a second survey within a week showed Netanyahu’s Likud trailing the centrist Yesh Atid, indicating that for the first time since 2012, Likud would no longer be the country’s biggest party if elections were held today. Several analysts argued that Netanyahu provoked the ethnic cleansing drama to deflect criticism over his handling of last week’s train crisis and galvanize his right-wing supporters, relations with the US and the rest of the world be damned.But the fact that Netanyahu and his aides have made the “ethnic cleansing” talking point before appears to discredit this theory. It is more likely that Netanyahu and Keyes — who, before he entered the Prime Minister’s Office, was known for his unorthodox style of political activism — released the clip as just one more of their ongoing series of hasbara (pro-Israel advocacy) videos, not expecting it would lead to such outrage.In the middle of talks about US military aid, and ahead of Obama’s post-presidential-election lame duck period — when the president could choose to support anti-Israel actions at the UN — Netanyahu would probably not have deliberately picked an unnecessary fight with the administration-The point of these videos, which recently included Netanyahu’s claim to care more about Palestinians than do their own leaders, is to make Israel’s case directly to the masses via social media, thus circumventing the ostensibly biased mainstream media. In the middle of crucially important negotiations about US military aid, and ahead of Barack Obama’s post-presidential-election lame duck period — during which the president could choose to support anti-Israel actions at the UN — Netanyahu would probably not have deliberately picked an unnecessary fight with the administration.That is not to say that the episode does not contain any valuable insights into Netanyahu’s thinking, especially at a time of increased talk about a meeting between him and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Moscow to restart the peace process.“I think what makes peace impossible is intolerance of others. Societies that respect all people are the ones that pursue peace. Societies that demand ethnic cleansing don’t pursue peace,” Netanyahu says in the video, making plain that he does not think the Palestinians are ready for serious negotiations.At the very least, Netanyahu’s message serves as a reminder of how he views a possible solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: His talk of “ethnic cleansing” in the context of possible withdrawals underlines his utter rejection of a wide-scale evacuation of settlers.“I envision a Middle East where young Arabs and young Jews learn together, work together, live together side by side in peace,” he says in the clip, hinting that he does not believe in a two-state solution that completely separates Israelis and Palestinians, but rather in some kind of arrangement in which many of the hundreds of thousands of Jews currently living in the West Bank will remain in their homes, even if they are located on territory belonging to a Palestinian state.Can settlement evacuations be called ethnic cleansings?-Notwithstanding the emotions Netanyahu’s use of the term “ethnic cleansing” evoked this weekend, and the fact that Palestinian activists often use it to describe Israel’s actions in 1948, is the description factually sound? There is no clear legal definition of “ethnic cleansing.” The Cambridge Dictionary describes it as “the organized, often violent attempt by a particular cultural or racial group to completely remove from a country or area all members of a different group.”A commission of experts examining the war in Yugoslavia in the 1990s — when the term was invented — established ethnic cleansing as a “purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic or religious group from certain geographic areas.”On the face of it, the forced evacuation of Jewish settlers from the West Bank for the benefit of Palestinian Arabs appears to fit the bill. Palestinian leaders have been adamant that “not a single Israeli” will be accepted in their future state.On the other hand, proponents of an Israeli withdrawal are not calling for the violent removal of settlers by Palestinians, but rather for a coordinated evacuation of settlements in the framework of a peace agreement.As previous Israeli withdrawals from Sinai and Gaza have shown, a proportion of ideologically and religiously motivated activists would likely have to be evacuated by force — though hardly by “terror-inspiring means.”A number of settlers might be expected to defy government-issued eviction orders and some could even attempt to sabotage the planned evacuation, but the international community’s vision of a peaceful implementation of a two-state solution has little in common with historical cases of ethnic cleansing, which are always bloodbaths.Speaking of previous Israeli withdrawals, immediately after the prime minister published the video calling them ethnic cleansing, pundits pointed out that his very own party forcibly uprooted Israelis more than once — in 1982 from Sinai and in 2005 from Gaza. One of the Likud MKs who voted for Ariel Sharon’s 2005 Disengagement plan, albeit reluctantly, was Benjamin Netanyahu.
PA seeks UN action on settlements in wake of PM’s ‘ethnic cleansing’ video-Senior Abbas aide urges international community to back up words with deeds, spurred on by Netanyahu claim that PA wants Jew-free West Bank-By Dov Lieber September 11, 2016, 5:17 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
The Palestinian Authority on Sunday redoubled efforts to persuade the international community to take action over Israel’s settlements, following the release of a video by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which he accuses the PA of advocating “ethnic cleansing.”Saeb Erekat, a senior aide to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said the prime minister’s video — published on Facebook and Twitter on Friday — “shows that Netanyahu has crossed every red line with his egregious and blatantly unethical remarks that flout international law.”In the video, Netanyahu decried what he said was a PA wish for the West Bank to be free of Jews in a future Palestinian state, calling such a desire “ethnic cleansing.”The remarks drew swift condemnation from the United States and members of the Arab Israeli community.No Jews. pic.twitter.com/QgGJoqjz9D— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) September 9, 2016-According to the PA’s official news agency Wafa, Erekat said the video should spur the world to take action against Israel, including a resolution by the UN Security Council condemning Israeli settlements and prosecution of Israel in the International Criminal Court.The “world must now begin to hold this government responsible, and must not suffice with statements and denouncements, but require real and immediate accountability,” he said.The Palestinian foreign ministry also called Sunday for the international community to “compel” Israel to abide by international law and halt settlement construction.Without referring directly to Netanyahu’s ethnic cleansing accusation, the ministry accused the Israeli prime minister of trying to “legitimize” settlements, which “shows once again he is no longer a partner for peace.”The International community considers Israeli building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem illegal. Jerusalem argues the status of West Bank settlements is subject to a final peace deal with the Palestinians.Israel began building settlements in the West Bank after it captured the territory, previously controlled by Jordan, in the 1967 Six Day War. Today, over 350,000 Israelis live in West Bank settlements and outposts and another 200,000 in East Jerusalem, which Israel considers part of its territory.“The whole world knows who is destroying the two-state solution,” said Erekat, referring to Netanyahu’s government, which he called a government “by the settlers, for the settlers in the settlements.”Israel has thus far avoided a resolution in the UN Security Council against its settlements due to a US veto. There is speculation, however, that US President Barack Obama may not continue to utilize such a veto to defend Israel as his term in office winds down.The US State Department on Friday condemned Netanyahu’s remarks as “inappropriate and unhelpful.”“We obviously strongly disagree with the characterization that those who oppose settlement activity or view it as an obstacle to peace are somehow calling for ethnic cleansing of Jews from the West Bank. We believe that using that type of terminology is inappropriate and unhelpful,” US State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said.She said Israel expansion of settlements raises “real questions about Israel’s long-term intentions in the West Bank.”The prime minister’s video on Friday also brought outrage from Arab Israeli politicians for his comparison of Arab citizens of Israel to Jewish Israeli settlers in the West Bank.In a column published Sunday in Haaretz newspaper, MK Ahmad Tibi of the Joint (Arab) List accused Israel of ethnically cleansing Arabs in 1948.“Mr. Netanyahu’s recent comparison of Palestinian citizens of Israel with its illegal settlers in Occupied Palestine is not only immoral, but a total departure from rationality, history and Israel’s obligations under international law,” he wrote.Ayman Odeh, the chairman of the Joint List, accused Netanyahu of creating “an imaginary reality” and rejected the comparison between Israeli Arabs and Jewish West Bank settlers, who he said implement a policy of “ethnic cleansing.”“Netanyahu doesn’t care that it is the settlements that were established precisely in order to cruelly expel Palestinian populaces from the West Bank to limited territories around the major cities,” he wrote on Facebook.Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.
In apparent split with PM, Liberman calls for moving Arab Israelis to future Palestinian state-Israel must support its troops regardless of any mistakes they make, defense minister says in reference to soldier on trial for killing disarmed attacker-By Judah Ari Gross September 12, 2016, 8:13 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman called Monday for the transfer of Israel’s Arab population to a future Palestinian state as part of any peace plan, in an apparent split with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who last week claimed “no one would seriously” consider such a move.“I don’t see a reason why the ‘Triangle’ [a predominantly Arab region of northern Israel] and Umm al-Fahm need to be a part of Israel,” Liberman said, during a question and answer session at Ariel University in the West Bank.The defense minister claimed that the country’s Arab population “demanded autonomy,” and identified less as Israelis and more as Palestinians.Liberman also said he did not see why Israeli citizens needed to pay the salaries of Arab Knesset members Hanin Zoabi and Jamal Zahalka when they regularly spoke out against the country.This was not a new position for Liberman. It has been a central aspect of his peace plan since 2004, but Monday marks the first time he publicly stated the belief since becoming defense minister in May.Liberman’s remarks also came just a few days after Netanyahu released a video claiming Palestinian leaders called for the “ethnic cleansing” of the West Bank as a condition for peace — a claim Liberman reiterated.However, Netanyahu said Israel had no such intention of doing the same with its own Arab population.“No one would seriously claim that the nearly two million Arabs living inside Israel, that they’re an obstacle to peace. That’s because they aren’t,” Netanyahu said in the video posted Friday on his Facebook page.Liberman’s comments seemed to run counter to claims made by the prime minister in the video.The defense minister on Monday also discussed the trial of Sgt. Elor Azaria, an IDF soldier accused of manslaughter for shooting dead a supine, disarmed Palestinian assailant in Hebron in March.Israel must support its soldiers under any circumstances, “even if one of them makes a mistake,” he said, referring specifically to Azaria’s case.At the end of the day, Liberman stressed, “we are talking about 18-, 19-year-olds.”Liberman, who prior to becoming defense minister, vocally supported Azaria, has dialed back his rhetoric since taking the position.“We should remember, all of us, including members of the media, public figures and politicians, that until you are convicted in court, you are innocent,” he said.This is especially true when you are dealing with soldiers who are on a mission, Liberman said.The trial of Azaria has gripped many in Israel for months, with predominantly right-wing supporters of the soldier calling him a “hero,” while detractors claim the shooting was an extrajudicial execution.The defense minister said he expects that the military court trying Azaria to “ignore the noise from the left and from the right,” when it hands down its decision.Regardless, Liberman said, attacks against the military itself should be considered out of bounds in the public discourse.“If someone has an issue with the army, they need to turn to the defense minister. We need to leave the army out of political arguments,” he said.“We can’t attack those in uniform, even when we disagree with them,” Liberman said.
Suspicious car with gas canisters found outside Marseille synagogue-After initial alarm, police say vehicle did not contain any detonation trigger, and may not have been booby-trapped as first feared-By Times of Israel staff and JTA September 10, 2016, 2:36 pm
A car containing gas canisters was found Saturday outside a synagogue in the southern port city of Marseille, French media reported.Police initially feared the vehicle found Saturday morning outside the Bar Yohaye Jewish Community Center and synagogue in Marseille’s 4th Arrondissement, east of the Saint-Charles railways station, was booby-trapped.Security forces convened at the site in large numbers, and a cordon was erected in the area.But Laurent Nuñez, the police commissioner of the Bouches-du-Rhône region, later told La Provence the car had no trigger mechanism to cause an explosion and was not stolen.There was no indication that the car found in Marseille was connected in any way to what police believe was a foiled attempt to carry out a terrorist attack in Paris last week, involving a car with several gas cylinders that was found abandoned near Paris’s Notre Dame cathedral, Nuñez added.Police in Marseille were trying to locate the owner of the car they found near the synagogue, Nuñez said.The failed attack near Notre Dame Cathedral was spearheaded by a group of women that included a 19-year-old whose written pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State group was found by police, a security official said Friday.France has seen a string of devastating terror attacks by jihadists in the past two years, some specifically targeting French Jews and some which have happened in Marseille. In January, Jewish teacher Binyamin Amsalem was injured when he was attacked outside a synagogue in the city by a man wielding a machete. Police said the perpetrator was caught 10 minutes later and taken into custody. A day later, a top Jewish leader in Marseille urged local Jews to refrain from wearing skullcaps “until better days.”In November 2015, another teacher at a Jewish school in Marseille was stabbed by three people shouting anti-Semitic obscenities. A month earlier, a rabbi and two Jewish worshipers were stabbed outside a Marseille synagogue following Shabbat prayers. The knife-wielding assailant could be heard shouting anti-Semitic slurs during the attack.In January 2015, four Jews were killed when jihadist gunman Amedy Coulibaly attacked a kosher supermarket in Paris, two days after fellow Islamist terrorists shot dead 12 people at the offices of Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and a day after he himself shot dead a policewoman.
Syria ceasefire comes into effect under US-Russia deal-Moscow says it will ‘continue to carry out strikes against terrorist targets’ as 48-hour truce begins-By AFP September 12, 2016, 7:23 pm-THE TIMES OF ISRAEL
An internationally backed ceasefire for Syria came into effect at sundown Monday as part of a hard-fought deal to bring an end to the war between rebels and regime fighters.The truce, brokered by the United States and Russia, entered into force at 7:00 pm local time (1600 GMT) across Syria except in jihadist-held areas.While the Syrian government and its allies have signed on to the deal, opposition forces have yet to formally respond.Russia said earlier Monday the truce would cover the entire country, but Moscow would still strike “terrorist targets.”“Today from 1900 (local time) the cessation of hostilities is being resumed across all the territory of Syria,” senior Russian military official Sergei Rudskoi said at a briefing, adding Russia would “continue to carry out strikes against terrorist targets.”In a further sign of the deal’s fragility, Syria’s President Bashar Assad vowed to retake the whole country from “terrorists.”The deal, announced Friday after marathon talks between Russia and the United States, has been billed as the best chance yet to halt the bloodshed in Syria’s five-year civil war.As well as bringing a temporary end to the fighting, it aims to provide crucial aid to hundreds of thousands of desperate civilians.Under the agreement, an initial 48-hour ceasefire is to begin at 7:00 pm local time (1600 GMT), halting fighting in areas not held by jihadists like the Islamic State group.Aid deliveries to many besieged and “hard-to-reach” areas are set to simultaneously begin, with government and rebel forces ensuring unimpeded humanitarian access in particular to divided Aleppo city.The ceasefire will be renewed every 48 hours and, if it holds for a week, Moscow and Washington will begin unprecedented joint targeting of jihadist forces.After years of stalled peace efforts and the failure of a landmark truce agreed in February, world powers are anxious to end a conflict that has killed more than 290,000 people.Russia’s deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov told state-run news agency RIA Novosti that peace talks could resume within a month.“I think that probably at the very beginning of October, [UN envoy Staffan] de Mistura should be inviting all parties” to talks, he said.But Syria’s opposition and rebels are deeply skeptical that Assad’s regime will abide by the truce agreement, and demanded guarantees before endorsing a deal.“We are asking for guarantees especially from the United States, which is a party to the agreement,” Salem al-Muslet from the High Negotiations Committee, the main opposition umbrella group, told AFP Monday.“We fear that Russia will classify all the Free Syrian Army (rebel factions) as terrorists,” as it was unclear how the deal defined “terrorist groups”, he said.Rebel groups on Sunday sent a letter to the US saying they would “deal positively with the idea of the ceasefire” but listed several “concerns” and stopped short of a full endorsement.“The clauses of the agreement that have been shared with us do not include any clear guarantees or monitoring mechanisms… or repercussions if there are truce violations,” they said.
Syria ceasefire takes effect with Assad emboldened, opposition wary-[By Tom Perry]-September 12, 2016-YAHOONEWS
BEIRUT (Reuters) - A nationwide ceasefire brokered by the United States and Russia went into effect in Syria on Monday evening, the second attempt this year by Washington and Moscow to halt the five-year civil war.The Syrian army, announced the truce at 7 p.m. (1600 GMT), the moment it took effect, saying the seven-day "regime of calm" would be applied across Syria. It reserved the right to respond with all forms of firepower to any violation by "armed groups".Rebel groups fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad had decided to respect the ceasefire, while expressing their deep reservations about the overall agreement, said Zakaria Malahifji of the Aleppo-based rebel faction Fastaqim."Regarding a truce, a ceasefire, the delivery of aid, this is a moral question and there is no debate around this, we absolutely welcome this, but there are other articles around which there are reservations," he told Reuters.Combatant sources on both sides said calm was prevailing in the first hours of the ceasefire. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, shared that assessment.Russia is a major backer of Assad, while the United States supports some of the rebel groups fighting to topple him.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said early reports suggested there had been some reduction in violence.He told reporters at the State Department that it was too early to draw a definitive conclusion about how effective the truce will be, and that there would no doubt be some reports of violations "here and there".The agreement's initial aims include allowing humanitarian access and joint U.S.-Russian targeting of jihadist groups, which are not covered by the agreement.Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that aid to the besieged city of Aleppo would start immediately.Besher Hawi, a resident of opposition-held Aleppo, said the city had been calm since the ceasefire came into force, after a heavy day of bombardment."It's excellent but I certainly have no confidence in the regime. It could bomb at any moment," he told Reuters from Aleppo, speaking via a web-based messaging system.The agreement comes at a time when Assad's position on the battlefield is stronger than it has been since the earliest months of the war, thanks to Russian and Iranian military support. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed in the conflict and 11 million made homeless in the world's worst refugee crisis.-ASSAD EMBOLDENED-Hours before the truce took effect, an emboldened Assad vowed to take back all of Syria. In a gesture loaded with symbolism, state television showed him visiting Daraya, a Damascus suburb long held by rebels but recaptured last month after fighters surrendered in the face of a crushing siege."The Syrian state is determined to recover every area from the terrorists," Assad said in an interview broadcast by state media. Earlier he performed Muslim holiday prayers alongside other officials in a bare hall in a Daraya mosque.He made no mention of the ceasefire agreement, but said the army would continue its work "without hesitation, regardless of any internal or external circumstances".The ceasefire is the boldest expression yet of hope by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama that it can work with Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war. All previous diplomatic initiatives have collapsed in failure.The Obama administration opposes Assad but wants to shift the focus of fighting from the multi-sided civil war between Assad and his many foes to a campaign against Islamic State, an ultra-hardline jihadist group that controls swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq.The ceasefire deal is backed by foreign countries ranging from Assad's ally Iran to Turkey, one of the main supporters of groups fighting to overthrow him.But maintaining the ceasefire means overcoming big challenges, including separating nationalist rebels who would be protected under it from jihadist fighters who are excluded.The rebels say the deal benefits Assad, whose military position has improved since the last truce brokered by Washington and Moscow collapsed earlier this year.The capture of Daraya, a few kilometres from Damascus, has helped the government secure important areas to the southwest of the capital near an air base. The army has also completely encircled the rebel-held half of Aleppo, Syria's largest city before the war, which has been divided into government and opposition-held zones for years.-RUSSIA CONCERNED-In the hours before the ceasefire took effect, fighting raged on several key frontlines, including Aleppo and the southern province of Quneitra. The Observatory said an air strike in rebel-held Idlib province killed at least 13 people.Under the agreement, Russian-backed government forces and opposition groups are expected to halt fighting for a while as a confidence building measure. Opposition fighters are expected to separate from jihadist groups in areas such as Aleppo.But distinguishing protected rebels from jihadists is difficult, particularly with regards to a group formerly called the Nusra Front, which was al Qaeda's Syria branch until it changed its name in July.The group, which now calls itself Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, has been playing a vital role in the battle for Aleppo allied with other rebel factions. It remains excluded from the ceasefire, and other rebel groups say government forces or their allies can use its presence as an excuse to hit other targets.Russia's Foreign Ministry said it was concerned that some opposition groups including the powerful Ahrar al-Sham, which fights in close coordination with Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, had refused to respect the ceasefire. However, a source in the opposition told Reuters that Ahrar al-Sham, would back the cessation of hostilities in an announcement later on Monday.Washington has said the ceasefire includes agreement that the government will not fly combat missions in an agreed area on the pretext of hunting fighters from the former Nusra Front. However, the opposition says a loophole would allow the government to continue air strikes for up to nine days.Nationalist rebel groups, including factions backed by Assad's foreign enemies, wrote to Washington on Sunday to express deep concerns.The letter, seen by Reuters, said the ceasefire shared the flaw that doomed the previous truce: a lack of guarantees or monitoring mechanisms. It also said Jabhat Fateh al-Sham should be included, as the group had not carried out attacks outside Syria despite its previous ties to al Qaeda. Jabhat Fatah al-Sham said the deal aimed to weaken the "effective" anti-Assad forces, and to "bury" the revolution.(Additional reporting by Mohamed el Sherif in Cairo, Dmitry Solovyov in Moscow, Tom Miles in Geneva; writing by Tom Perry and Peter Graff; editing by Anna Willard)
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