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Syria agrees to cease-fire during Eid holiday, says mediator

The Syrian Foreign Ministry has yet to announce that a cease-fire between government forces and rebels has been finalized. NBC's Duncan Golestani reports.

Updated at 9:05 a.m. ET: Syria has agreed to a cease-fire during the short Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, which begins Friday, international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said Wednesday at a Cairo news conference.

Brahimi, appointed by the United Nations and Arab League, said some Syrian opposition groups he had been in contact with had also agreed to a truce in principle.

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Eid al-Adha — the feast of the sacrifice — starts on Oct. 26 in the 2012 Gregorian calendar and lasts up to four days.

"After the visit I made to Damascus, there is agreement from the Syrian government for a cease-fire during the Eid,'' Brahimi told a news conference at the Cairo-based League.


He did not give a precise time period for the cease-fire but said Damascus would announce its agreement on Wednesday or Thursday. Syria's foreign ministry said it was still studying the truce proposal.

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President Bashar Assad is fighting an insurgency that grew out of street protests 19 months ago and has escalated into a civil war in which 30,000 people have been killed.

His overstretched army has lost swathes of territory and relies on air power to keep rebels at bay.

Fabio Bucciarelli / AFP - Getty Images

An elderly Syrian woman crosses a street next to a long black cloth used to separate the area from Syrian government forces' snipers fire, in the Bab el-Adid district in Aleppo, on Tuesday.

Conditions?
It was also not immediately clear what conditions all parties would have to impose to make the cease-fire a success. Rebel forces do not speak with one voice and already one rebel commander has said he has conditions that must be met.

Nevertheless, Brahimi said there was broad agreement on the truce. 

Fabio Bucciarelli / AFP - Getty Images

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"Other factions in Syria that we were able to contact, heads of fighting groups, most of them also agree on the principle of the ceasefire,'' he said.

"If this humble initiative succeeds, we hope that we can build on it in order to discuss a longer and more effective cease-fire and this has to be part of a comprehensive political process,'' Brahimi said.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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