Last updated: 18 August, 2014

Truce deal in district of Syrian capital

The Syrian authorities and rebels agreed a truce Monday in the southern Damascus district of Qadam which was a battlefield for more than a year, state news agency SANA reported.

“A reconciliation agreement came into force on Monday,” the agency reported Sheikh Jabr Issa, chairman of the reconciliation committee, as saying.

“Efforts aim to facilitate the return of citizens and the functioning of public services,” he said..

“Sand barriers will be removed to allow streets to open and citizens to return” to the area south of the capital on the road to Daraa, the main city in southern Syria.

“The agreement provides that lists be drawn up of armed men to regularise their status, while others containing the names of those abducted (by rebels) will be given” to the authorities, SANA said.

The Syrian army has never managed to take the district which has been held by various rebel factions with the exception of the jihadists of the Islamic State.

Monday’s accord came after government forces on Thursday took the key Mleiha area on the road to Damascus airport after months of fighting.

Several local ceasefires had already been agreed in areas around Damascus, notably Qudsaya in the northeast, the southwest suburb of Moadamiyet al-Sham, Beit Yahem and Yalda in the south and Barzeh in the north.

More than 170,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the conflict that was sparked by a government crackdown on peaceful demonstrations in mid-March 2011.

Upwards of nine million people have also been forced to flee their homes because of the fighting.