NEW DELHI: As the landmark ceasefire brokered in Geneva last week comes into effect Monday, Syrian President Bashar al Assad stands the most to gain. The ceasefire is part of a greater peace plan agreed on between Moscow and Washington, with other provisions including the delivery of aid to civilians in cities affected by the violence, particularly Aleppo.

The ceasefire, beginning with an initial 48 hour pause in fighting to be extended for a full week, will see joint US-Russian cooperation against jihadist groups such as the Islamic State and Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as Nusra Front). Moderate rebel groups and civilians in the areas held by them will see a pause in fighting, as aid deliveries will be carried out in these areas. President Assad will be in a stronger position as the US and Russia jointly tackle his most effective opponents, and the moderate groups observe a truce in fighting.

The deal was reached after months of negotiations in Geneva, and comes into effect “at sundown” on September 12, Damascus time. In the event that the ceasefire holds for an entire week, Moscow and Washington will establish a Russian-US Joint Implementation Centre (JIG) that would serve the purpose of “delineation of territories controlled by Al-Nusra and opposition groups in the area of active hostilities."

The ceasefire has been largely welcomed by international leaders, but it is unclear at the time of writing whether all rebel groups will abide by it. Already, the hardline rebel group Islamist Ahrar al-Sham has rejected the ceasefire. "A rebellious people who have fought and suffered for six years cannot accept half-solutions," said its second-in-command, Ali al-Omar, in a video statement.

The Free Syrian Army also wrote to the US administration saying that while it would "co-operate positively" with the ceasefire, there were concerns that the pause in fighting would benefit President Assad. It is worth reiterating that Assad is a divisive figure, with the conflict in Syria being complicated by the fact that his regime is backed by Russia, but the US and its allies consider the removal of Assad to be central to their goals in the region.

Most significantly, however, concerns relating to the ceasefire being upheld are linked to the fact that several such attempts have failed in the past. The most recent attempt at a ceasefire to fail was in January 2016, before which ceasefires in January 2014 and June 2012 had also failed.

In fact, leading up to the ceasefire on Monday, fighting showed no signs of abating. Airstrikes on rebel-held Idlib city and opposition-held parts of Aleppo killed at least 90 people and injured several others over the weekend. Rebel groups in turn announced new offenses in Daraa and Quneitra.

However, the upsurge in violence is no indicator of whether the ceasefire will hold or not. The delay between announcement and implementation serves as an invitation to all parties to maximise gains, with the Syrian government being no exception. The real test is whether the fighting sees a pause after Monday -- which in turn will depend on the willingness of the various groups involved to honour the ceasefire. In this respect, history doesn’t unveil an entirely positive answer.