(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) It's monitoring time in Damascus. The first batch of the United Nations observers that arrived to supervise the fragile ceasefire has a gigantic task to deliver.
Not only are they mandated to form an opinion that would enable the world body to act in Syria but would also further the process of transition. But the onus still lies with the reigning Baath Party, which should ensure that guns hold fire and nothing that violates the terms of the six-point peace plan agreed with the international community should occur.
The excuse on the part of the government that it would not be responsible for any act on behalf of the opposition, in terms of resorting to violence, does not hold ground. What is required of Damascus is to be on guard and quietly implement the ceasefire. That cannot be attained until and unless Syria pulls its troops back into the barracks and opens a new vista of confidence building measures. The agreement with the United Nations under the auspicious of Russia should be seen and executed by President Bashar Al Assad's dispensation as a blessing in disguise. It has come at a time when a war that was knocking on its doors can be stalled. Moreover, a protracted civil war can also be avoided.
Damascus has to keep in mind that an earlier episode of Arab League-sponsored monitors failed because its security forces acted in an irresponsible, trigger-happy manner. There is an opportunity for Assad to seize and go over board to not only rehabilitate political peace but also secure Syrian borders by putting an end to the refugee movement to neighbouring states. Talking it out with the opposition can win it laurels.