Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Arab, Russian Interposition Forces in Damascus’ Ghouta | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Children are seen near rubble of damaged buildings in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria, July 17, 2017.

Moscow, Beirut- Russia’s Defense Ministry announced on Saturday reaching an agreement with moderate opposition forces on how a ceasefire will function in Damascus’ Ghouta.

The agreement excluded Faylaq Al-Islam, although the group had previously accepted to join the truce in the area.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday: “After talks were held in Cairo between representatives of the Russian Defense Ministry and the Syrian opposition with the mediation of the Egyptian side, the parties signed agreements on the mechanisms needed for the functioning of the East Ghouta de-escalation zone.”

The involved parties agreed on the borders of the zone and the deployment locations and powers of the forces monitoring the de-escalation.

“The first humanitarian convoy to the de-escalation zone and evacuation of the injured are due within days,” the Russian ministry added.

Although the truce in Syria was still being breached, the Syrian regime announced the end of fighting in parts of Eastern Ghouta.

In a statement, the army said “a halt in fighting in some areas of Eastern Ghouta in Damascus province would start at midday Saturday.”

Meanwhile, political leader of Jaish al-Islam Mohammed Alloush confirmed the ceasefire agreement. “Yes, the agreement was reached and now it came into force,” he said, adding that the agreement would hopefully end the siege in Ghouta and would allow the delivery of humanitarian aid and fuel.

Early this year, Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed to form four proposed safe zones in Syria, including the Eastern Ghouta area.

Separately, the Ahrar al-Sham movement suffered on Saturday a resounding loss during its last round of fighting with Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham in the Idlib province.

Tahrir al-Sham, a group led by Jubhat al-Nusra, controlled 30 villages and towns in the province last week and more importantly, the armed group was capable to force Ahrar al-Sham to hand over Bab al-Hawa crossing border with Turkey to a civil administration, which would later be under the supervision of al-Nusra.