The Syrian army promised to observe a four-day cease-fire for a Muslim holiday starting Friday, while rebels claimed to have taken control of new areas in the key battleground of Aleppo. The country's main rebel force, the Free Syrian Army has also agreed to halt combat operations from Friday morning, but both reserved the right to respond to attacks.
The call for a four-day cease-fire for the Eid al-Adha holiday is currently the international community's only idea on how to try to stop 19 months of violence in Syria.
If followed through, a ceasefire would mark the first real halt in the conflict that rights groups say has killed more than 35,000 people.
"We will respect the ceasefire from tomorrow morning if the Syrian army does the same," FSA General Mustafa al-Sheikh said by telephone from Turkey."
He noted, however, that he could not speak on behalf of all rebel groups. "There is not a unified command for all the factions. We speak on behalf of a big enough number of fighters, but there are other armed factions who follow other commands," Sheikh said.
Other rebels groups have refused to accept the proposal, with the radical Islamic Al-Nusra Front saying it will not lay down its weapons and denouncing the truce as a "trick".
UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi proposed the truce and had earlier said Assad was ready to observe it.