Syrian rebel-held town agrees truce with Assad regime

Syrian rebel-held town agrees truce with Assad regime
A Syrian town in the Damascus countryside has agreed a deal with regime in Damascus for rebels and their families to leave.
2 min read
18 March, 2018
The People’s Committee in the city of Harasta, east of Damascus, has agreed a truce with the Syrian regime, local sources have told The New Arab.

Harasta, which lies just northeast of downtown Damascus in the opposition-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta, was only recently liberated by Syrian opposition forces.

The committee and the Syrian regime has agreed that rebels from the movement Ahrar al-Sham and their families be moved to Idlib in North Syria next Tuesday. 

The initial agreement is that buses will enter the area to first evacuate the sick and wounded, before civilians and families of rebels, and finally fighters who refuse to surrender their weapons.

The Syrian regime gave opposition fighters in Harasta until 3pm on Sunday to leave the city, before the agreement was reached.

Local media reported that Russia was brokering the negotiations between the regime and Ahrar al-Sham.

As it seeks to win back control of the country, the Assad regime has often sought evacuation deals in rebel-held areas after brutal bombardment campaigns or suffocating sieges.

This was the case in the central city Homs in 2014 and in the northern city of Aleppo as regime forces retook full control of it in late 2016.

These so-called "reconciliation" deals saw rebels evacuated to other parts of the country under opposition control, including the northwestern province of Idlib.