Fighting halt near Damascus

2017-07-23 06:17
A general view taken from the al-Qaboun suburb of Damascus shows damaged buildings in the nearby Jobar neighbourhood. (Abd Doumany , AFP)

A general view taken from the al-Qaboun suburb of Damascus shows damaged buildings in the nearby Jobar neighbourhood. (Abd Doumany , AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Damascus - Syria's army announced on Saturday a halt in fighting in parts of Eastern Ghouta after rebels and regime ally Russia agreed on how a safe zone will function for the besieged opposition enclave.

With many of its towns and villages ravaged by bombardments in the six-year conflict, Eastern Ghouta near Damascus is one of the last strongholds of rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

Eastern Ghouta is in one of four proposed "de-escalation zones" designated in an agreement reached by government allies Iran and Russia and rebel backer Turkey in May.

But the deal has yet to be fully implemented over disagreements on who would police the safe zones, and Eastern Ghouta is just the second zone to see a ceasefire enter into force.

The army "announces a halt in fighting in some areas of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus province from midday on Saturday (09:00 GMT)," it said in a statement carried by state news agency SANA.

"The army will retaliate in a suitable manner to any violation" of the ceasefire, the statement said, without specifying what areas were included.

Russia said earlier Saturday it had signed a deal with "moderate" Syrian rebels at peace talks in Cairo on how a safe zone would function in Eastern Ghouta.

But no rebel group said it had signed the Cairo agreement, with one influential group in the region saying it was not involved.

The Cairo meeting "follows on from the ceasefire deal for the south of Syria" that took hold on July 9, said Wael Alwan, a spokesman for Faylaq al-Rahman.

That ceasefire for southern areas of Syria was brokered by Russia, the United States and Jordan.

Borders and monitors 'defined'

Russia said it and the rebels had signed agreements under which "the borders of the de-escalation zone are defined as well as the deployment locations and powers of the forces monitoring the de-escalation".

It said the sides had also agreed "routes to supply humanitarian aid to the population and for free movement of residents".

Russia said it plans to send in the first humanitarian convoy and evacuate the wounded "in the next few days".

The two other "de-escalation zones" included in the May deal are the rebel-held province of Idlib and northern parts of the central province of Homs.

More than 2.5 million people are believed to live in the four zones.

The May accord roughly laid out the areas where rebels and government forces should halt hostilities, including air strikes, for six months, but Russia, Turkey and Iran then failed to meet a June 4 deadline to set exact boundaries for the zones.

One major stumbling block appeared to be who would ensure security in all four areas, with Turkey and Iran in particular reportedly wrangling to bolster their influence.

A new meeting in the Kazakh capital Astana is expected during the last week of August, with rebels as well as representatives from Turkey and Iran to attend, Russia has said.

Moscow has argued that the zones agreement will provide moderate rebels with security and help focus attacks against jihadist groups such as former Al-Qaeda affiliate Fateh al-Sham Front and the Islamic State group.

More than 330 000 people have been killed in Syria since its conflict broke out in March 2011 with anti-government protests.

Read more on:    syria

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Buying a puppy? Don’t get scammed!

Hundreds of complaints are filed every year from victims who were scammed when buying a dog online.

 
 

Paws

WATCH: These funny animal videos will make you LOL!
11 animals before and after they were adopted from shelters
Competition pet grooming – creative or too extreme?
5 Celebrities who are afraid of animals
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.