Three Syrian factions, including Jaysh al-Islam, signed in Cairo Thursday a ceasefire deal in the southern of Damascus to go into effect on the same day. The deal, brokered under an Egyptian mediation, stipulates the opening of the crossings controlled by militants in the area and an end to the forced displacement of residents. It also affirmed the possibility that any militant faction would be capable to join the agreement.
The “Cairo Bawaba” website then quoted Mohamed Aloush, the head of Jaysh al-Islam’s political office as saying that the Egyptian side had pledged to lift the siege of the eastern Ghouta region to allow the entrance of aid and alleviate the suffering of residents in the region. In addition to Jaysh al-Islam, the deal includes Jaysh Ababil and Aknaf Beit Al-Maqdis.
At the battlefield, regime forces advanced in the city of Mayadeen in Deir Ezzor by controlling at least four new neighborhoods during fierce battles with ISIS militants in the area. “Regime forces, led on the ground by Russian forces, took control of at least four neighborhoods of Mayadeen,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.
Meanwhile, last-hours talks were ongoing to secure the exit of ISIS militants and civilians from Raqqa. Reports published on Thursday said that announcing the near liberation of Raqqa is related to a final deal for the exit of ISIS militants from the area. Abu Mohammad al-Raqqawi, an activist in the ‘Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently’, told Asharq Al-Awsat that despite some obstacles facing the talks, there are ongoing efforts to withdraw the remaining ISIS militants from the area.
Also in Syria, Reuters quoted two rebels and a witness as saying that a first convoy of the military operation that Turkey is carrying out in Syria’s Idlib province crossed into the area late on Thursday. The convoy included about 30 military vehicles, said Abu Khairo, a commander in a Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebel group based in the area, and it entered Syria near the Bab al-Hawa border crossing, according to a civilian witness.
Truce in Southern Damascus Brokered by Egypt