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Damascus’ Diplomats Meet to Outline Future Foreign Policy | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Children walk past rubble of damaged buildings at Ain Tarma, eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria July 19, 2017, Reuters

Damascus- Syria’s diplomatic cable held a meeting to outline the regime’s foreign policy for the upcoming period, said informed sources.

Sources told the German news agency, DPA, that the meeting coincided as regime troops pushed for control over swathes of Syrian heartland. On Friday, it was announced that some 9,000 kilometers have been brought in regime control . The area is said to connect Raqqa, Homs and Hama.

In the processes, a siege cut off ISIS-controlled towns in Hama’s northeastern rural areas, such as Uqayribat.

The sources linked the meeting to the qualitative changes in the course of the political solution to the seven-year-old Syrian conflict.

On the other hand, Russian forces based in Lattakia announced reaching an agreement to manage de-escalation zones through joint committees between the opposition and the regime forces in concerned areas.

However, Al-Rahman Legion media director Mowafaq Abu Ghassan told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper said that regime forces gassed rebel areas.

The group’s medical center documented four severe cases of asphyxiation.

Syrian jets and artillery struck rebel-held eastern Damascus suburbs on Saturday a day after a Russian sponsored ceasefire with a rebel group agreed a halt of fighting in the last opposition enclave in the capital, rebels and witnesses said.

The Russian defense ministry said on Friday it had reached a ceasefire that took effect at 21.00 hrs Moscow time (1800 GMT) with Failaq al Rahman, the main Free Syrian Army (FSA) group fending off a two-month widescale Syrian army offensive in Jobar district and nearby town of Ain Tarma.

A spokesman for Failaq al Rahman said both Jobar, which lies some 2 km east of the Old City wall, and nearby Ain Tarma on the edge of Eastern Ghouta witnessed army strikes and shelling soon after the ceasefire went into effect.

“After the first few hours … there were many violations…at midnight they dropped barrel bombs and from the morning there have been strikes across the Ghouta,” Wael Alwan, another spokesman for the group, said.

At least five civilians were killed in the towns of Hamouriya and Zalamka and fighters said there were several case of suffocation from rockets filled with chlorine that were fired at the front lines of Jobar and Ain Terma, he added.

The Syrian army elite 4th Division has been trying unsuccessfully to storm Jobar and residents say the army has retaliated for its heavy losses by shelling residential areas, leaving scores killed and wounded since the campaign was launched.

Failaq al Rahman said the Syrian army bombardment appeared to be an attempt to wreck a ceasefire deal whose main points included deploying Russian military police along the frontline, the release of detainees and allowing humanitarian goods into the besieged Eastern Ghouta.