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Truce in Syria’s Daraa between Washington, Moscow | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A picture taken on January 26, 2016 shows artillery casings on the ground in the southern Daraa, Syria. (AFP)

Beirut, Baghdad, Moscow, London – A temporary truce was announced on Saturday between the Syrian regime and opposition forces in Daraa.

The announcement was made after intense talks between American and Russian officials in the Jordanian capital Amman.

At the same time, Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces reached al-Walid crossing near al-Tanf military camp that is used by the US to train opposition forces.

The Syrian news agency SANA reported according to a regime forces statement that they had halted military operations in Daraa for 48 hours, starting Saturday afternoon, “to back the national reconciliation efforts”.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights later confirmed the ceasefire, reporting that three hours of calm had passed since the announcement of the truce.

The quiet was interrupted however by intermittent shelling by the regime, it added.

An opposition commander refuted to Reuters however that the attacks had stopped.

He said that the opposition was not informed of the truce and the regime is still continuing its attacks.

A media source noted that the situation on the ground “is tipped in favor of the rebels and the ceasefire is like a victory for the factions that have persevered for weeks against the barbaric military machine of the regime and its militias.”

The truce announcement is tantamount to a “partial withdrawal by the regime so that it could save face before its supporters,” it added.

Washington hailed the ceasefire, calling on Damascus to commit to its pledges and urging the opposition to stop its attacks.

Meanwhile, the Israeli ambassador in Moscow, Harry Koren, revealed that Tel Aviv is carrying out contacts with Russia over setting up “de-escalation” zones in southwest Syria. The zones would include Daraa, which lies on the border with Jordan, and al-Quneitra, which lies adjacent to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

The Observatory said on Saturday that foreign special forces are fighting on the frontlines of the US-led international coalition against ISIS.

Some 400 American and French soldiers are taking part in the battle for the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, said activist Abou Mohammed al-Raqqawi.