Colombia halts air raids on FARC rebels

Colombian soldiers patrol in the department of Caqueta, FARC fiefdom located between the Andes range and the Amazonian rainforest in Colombia in November 2014Colombia will stop air raids on Marxist FARC rebels for a month, President Juan Manuel Santos said, a major stride in a peace process aimed at ending Latin America’s longest-running civil war. Peace talks have been underway since 2012 but the president’s gesture was an unprecedented step towards ending the conflict, which has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced more than five million. “To start the de-escalation of the conflict I have decided to order the minister of defense and armed forces commanders to stop bombing raids on FARC camps for a month,” Santos said in a television address. The FARC declared an indefinite, unilateral ceasefire on December 18, but Santos had until now rejected a bilateral ceasefire without a definitive peace deal.