Syria Agrees in Principle to Holiday Cease-fire, Says Mediator

Syria foreign ministry says still studying proposal, will announce final decision on Wednesday.

Syria's military leaders were studying a proposal by international mediator Lakhdar Brahimi for a cease-fire to mark the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha, and would announce their decision on Thursday, its foreign ministry said.

"The proposal to halt military operations during the blessed Eid al-Adha holiday is still being studied by the leadership of the army and the armed forces," the ministry said in a statement released after Brahimi announced in Cairo that Syria had agreed the truce.

"The final position on this issue will be announced tomorrow."

The holiday starts on Thursday and lasts three or four days. Brahimi, a mediator 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.

"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. "Other factions in Syria that we were able to contact, heads of fighting groups, most of them also agree on the principle of the cease-fire," he added. President Bashar al-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.

"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.

Syrian president Assad meets U.N. and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in Damascus