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Syria: ISIS agrees truce, withdraws from Turkish border areas - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A member of Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra mans checkpoint on border crossing between Syria and Jordan, in Daraa, on December 26, 2013. (Reuters/Ammar Khassawneh)

A member of Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat Al-Nusra mans checkpoint on border crossing between Syria and Jordan, in Daraa, on December 26, 2013. (Reuters/Ammar Khassawneh)

Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat—Syrian opposition sources said on Sunday that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group has agreed a truce to end the fighting which has raged since Friday between ISIS and members of other opposition groups in northern Syria.

Yasser Najjar, a member of the Supreme Council for the Leadership of the Syrian Revolution (SCLSR), told Asharq Al-Awsat that opposition groups Al-Nusra Front and the Ahrar Al-Sham Brigades led efforts to broker a truce in the Aleppo suburbs, and that these had been accepted by ISIS.

Najjar said the agreement “ended the clashes in Aleppo and the northern suburbs, where members of disbanded brigades had escalated their attacks on ISIS.”

The clashes in northern Syria are caused by the conflict between armed factions over the control of Syrian territory currently under opposition control, in addition to the increase in “public dissatisfaction over the strict practises of ISIS.”

Reports said armed factions took over checkpoints, bases and arms belonging to ISIS in Aleppo and Idlib. An alliance calling itself Jaysh Al-Mujahidin, which includes eight fighting groups, issued a statement pledging to “fight ISIS until it destroys it.”

Syrian activists on Sunday said ISIS fighters had withdrawn from strategic positions near the Turkish border after coming under heavy fire from other Islamist groups.

Activist Firas Ahmad said ISIS withdrew “without a fight” and that its fighters took their arms and heavy artillery and headed to Aleppo.

Reports said the withdrawal of ISIS fighters from their strategic positions in the towns of Al-Danah and Atma near the border “indicated that an agreement could be reached to avoid wider clashes, which would weaken both sides and benefit Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.”

Meanwhile, more than 24 Syrian opposition fighters were killed in northern Syria during attacks by jihadists, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which added that ISIS fighters targeted a coach transporting opposition fighters near Tal Refaat, killing at least 10.

Five other opposition fighters were killed when ISIS members detonated a booby-trapped car on Saturday night, in front of the police station of Hraitan town.

Meanwhile, ISIS executed five opposition fighters in the area of Harem in Idlib, following a siege by the opposition of ISIS headquarters, while an ambush set by ISIS for the opposition killed four more fighters.

Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV said official Syrian sources confirmed that “200 members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Al-Nusra Front had surrendered to Syrian [government] forces in the Barzeh district.”

According to Al-Manar, the sources added that “the agreement between the Syrian army and the insurgents approved a ceasefire and the handover of some organization commanders to government forces, in addition to an end to the firing of mortars and sniper fire in the areas surrounding Barzeh.”

Al-Manar added that the agreement also stipulated the removal of mines from main roads in Barzeh and the reopening of the road between Barzeh and Teshrin hospital in Damascus.” It also added that the agreement “comes within a conciliation plan similar to the conciliation agreement which took place in Maadamiya last week.”