VIDEO: Temporary Truce Holds in Syria for the Four-Day Eid al-Adha Holiday
President Bashar al-Assad and the rebel Free Syrian Army agreed to a truce
Hamdi Alkhshali CNN
October 26, 2012(CNN) -- A temporary cease-fire appeared to be holding in many areas early Friday in Syria between government forces and the rebels, raising the slim possibility that the killings that have wracked the nation had been halted -- if only for a few days.
Thousands of people poured into the streets across Syria, using the four-day truce that coincides with the revered Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha as an opportunity to protest against President Bashar al-Assad's rule.
Observers have been skeptical about whether the truce negotiated by U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi would hold give that an effort in April by his predecessor failed to take hold.
By all appearances Friday morning, President Bashar al-Assad's forces and the rebel Free Syrian Army were keeping to the agreement that continues until the end of the Eid holiday on Monday.
Al-Assad was shown during a live broadcast on Syrian state-run TV leading morning prayers at a mosque in the capital city of Damascus to mark the start of the Eid.
The four-day religious holiday of Eid al-Adha begins at the height of the Hajj -- the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia that annually draws 2 million Muslims. It is a time where Muslims gather with family and friend.
The negotiated truce is the latest international effort to end the bloodshed in Syria where some 32,000 people, according to the opposition, have been killed in fighting that began in March 2011.
There were scattered reports of violence, with at least three people reportedly shot when soldiers fired gunshots into the air in an attempt to break up a demonstration in the town of Inkhil in the Dara province, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an London-based opposition activist group.
CNN can't confirm reports of violence as the Syrian government has severely restricted the access of international journalists.
Here are the key developments following news of the negotiated truce:
Terms Of Agreement
The terms of Syria's agreement have raised skepticism among some observers: Damascus reserves the right to respond to "terrorist" attacks, including bombings, as well as "terrorists" trying to reinforce their positions; and to protect neighboring borders crossed by "terrorists."
On the rebel side, a top Free Syrian Army general said Thursday his fighters had agreed to halt military operations if the Syrian government were to do so as well. But he said he doubted that the truce would hold.
Syria's rebel opposition is fractured, and Gen. Mustafa al-Sheikh said that some rebel groups have not agreed to halt operations.
The government, meanwhile, touted its several goodwill efforts Thursday leading to its announcement that it will stop fighting.
State-run TV aired footage of men walking out of a prison -- part of a government amnesty program, a commentator said.
The release comes a week after rebel fighters told Al Jazeera news agency that they would agree to a proposed cease-fire only if the government were to release detainees, end a siege in the city of Homs and halt aerial attacks.
'Foolish to expect total cease-fire'
It's foolish to expect a total cease-fire, said Aram Nerguizian, a Middle East expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
A cease-fire in this context is about a larger goal of getting most rebel brigades and al-Assad forces to halt or reduce the killing.
CNN's Chelsea J. Carter contributed to this report.
™ & © 2012 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.