"The parties that negotiated it did not even agree on the precise timing. The State Department said the truce had begun at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, and Syrian state television said it would take effect at 1 a.m. on Thursday. Nor did their statements clarify the main disagreement between the United States, which backs some insurgents, and Russia, the most powerful ally of the Syrian government, over which rebel groups are fair game for government and Russian airstrikes. The crux of the problem is that Nusra Front fighters, affiliated with Al Qaeda, are intermingled in parts of insurgent-held territory with rebel groups that have agreed to the partial truce. Russia says those groups can therefore be targeted, while the United States has argued against Russia’s position. The American-backed rebels have been told to dissociate from all who are not part of the truce. But some rebels have said that is impractical," writes Anne Barnard for the New York Times.
"The Russian rhetoric and Janus two-faced approach to the conflict has been starkly exposed. On one hand the Deputy Foreign Minister, Gennady Gatilov, declared that 'we are not going to put pressure on [Assad] because one must understand that the situation in Aleppo is part of this fight against the terrorist threat'. Then, on the other hand, Lieutenant-General Sergei Kurylenko was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies that 'currently active negotiations are under way to establish a 'regime of silence' [ceasefire] in Aleppo province'. Either the Russians are complicit in the attacks or they have created a monster in the regime that can't be controlled. In each scenario Aleppo will continue to burn," writes James Denselow for Al Jazeera.
"Nusra felt isolated and threatened, and struggled to maintain power under the [February] cease-fire. The Nusra Front is excluded from the cease-fire, unlike all of the other opposition groups, which effectively isolated the Nusra Front from the rest of the rebel groups. This was very threatening to Nusra, so they tried to peel groups away from the cease-fire, starting with Ahrar al-Sham. They were not successful in doing so for a long time. The Nusra Front tried desperately to convince Syrian civilians that the cease-fire was a ploy and to reject it. But most civilians wanted the cease-fire, even if they spoke out against it, because the war had taken such an immense toll on people," says Kenan Rahmani in an interview with Syria Deeply.