Syrian govt, rebels close to 15-day ceasefire near Damascus

Syrian government, opposition forces close to 15-day ceasefire in Eastern Ghouta near Damascus

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Residents walk near rubble of damaged buildings in the town of Douma, eastern Ghouta in Damascus, Syria November 17, 2015

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) announced on late Wednesday that the Syrian army and opposition fighters had talks with the purpose of carrying out a 15-day ceasefire in the Eastern Ghouta region close to Damascus.

Head of the British-based Observatory Rami Abdel Rahman also said if the ceasefire takes effect “in Eastern Ghouta would begin at 6:00 AM (0400 GMT) Thursday and will last 15-days."

These talks are the first known attempt aiming to reach a truce in the region and are likely being dealt by Russian or Iranian mediators.

According to media sources, a senior Syrian security source told without giving further information that "talks are ongoing between the government and a number of armed groups in Eastern Ghouta... to stop military operations."

"Our Russian allies are playing a direct role in contacting those that support the armed groups," he said.

The ceasefire is to be seen as a “test period” and if takes effect it could be extended in a further agreement, said Observatory without elaborating.

If the agreement is actualised, it would be the second local ceasefire in recent months.

The first ceasefire agreement which was backed by Turkey and Iran, was in September between opposition fighters and pro-government forces around a town near the Lebanese border and two villages in the northwest for a period of six months.

The most powerful group of opposition in Eastern Ghouta is Jaish al Islam, which is the main negotiating group says Abdel Rahman.

In the four and a half year civil war in Syria that killed at least 300,000 people, Eastern Gouta was held by opposition forces.

The region, which was also targeted with chemical weapons in 2013, has been blocked and has come under extreme bombardment from the Syrian army. 

TRTWorld and agencies