Author Topic: Defeated rebel militias yield to ceasefire demanded by Assad in and around Damascus  (Read 141 times)

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Offline flowers

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NICOSIA — The Sunni revolt is said to have collapsed around Syria’s capital.

Rebel sources said Islamist militias capitulated to a demand by the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad to a unilateral ceasefire around most of Damascus.

The sources said the militias, including the Saudi-sponsored Islamic Front and Al Qaida’s Nusra Front for the Defense of the Levant, could not keep fighting amid heavy casualties and a nearly year-long siege by the Syrian Army.

“The rebels still have their weapons, but not much else,” a source said.

The latest ceasefire was imposed in the Damascus suburb of Barzeh in early 2014 after heavy rebel casualties. Other ceasefires were reported in the suburbs of Babila, Beit Sahm, Muadamiya, Qudsaya, Yalda and Yarmouk.

The sources said the last major rebel offensive around Damascus took place in late 2013 and was defeated by the Syrian Army within two days. They said efforts to break the siege by sending U.S.-trained fighters from Jordan failed in February 2014.

On March 15, the Syrian Army, led by the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah,
continued its offensive and entered Yabroud, deemed the last rebel hub near
Damascus. Rebels were said to have fled Yabroud for Rankos, some 30
kilometers southwest.

“With the entrance of the Syrian army forces from the east and the west,
the noose was tightened around the [rebel] groups,” the official Syrian news
agency Sana said.

The Assad regime has not confirmed the virtual end of operations around
Damascus. But Syria’s official media, including the Sana news agency, have
not been reporting clashes between the Army and rebels near the capital.

The sources said the regime has raised the prospect of an amnesty for
the rebels. They said another option was that authorities release some of
the thousands of captured fighters.

Syrian opposition leader Ahmed Jarba acknowledged the erosion of the
revolt. Jarba said time was running out for the international community to
supply the Free Syrian Army with weapons.

“I remind them that the time they are trying to buy today through
procrastination will tomorrow put a knife to the neck of the region and
peace and security in the world,” Jarba said.

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