Syria, Al-Qaeda-led Rebels Agree to 48-Hour Ceasefire

Deal Also Covers Contested Town on Lebanon Border

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Syrian government has reached a 48-hour ceasefire deal with the Islamist bloc of rebels led by al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, with both sides agreeing to a simultaneous ceasefire at several contested towns and villages.

The biggest of the towns is Zabadani, along the Lebanon border, which is under the control of the rebels. At the same time, the ceasefire will expand to some government-held villages in the northwestern Idlib Province, taking pressure off both areas.

Hezbollah and some Iranian backed militias are also party to the agreement, which is an important point since Hezbollah, and not the Syrian military, has been doing most of the fighting in the area around Zabadani recently. The deal in the Idlib villages is said to also allow food and medical aid into the Shi’ite villages, which are surrounded.

Tit-for-tat local ceasefires have happened periodically in Syria’s Civil War, and may become more common as there are more and more combatant factions, and groups hope to gain some advantage by temporarily focusing on a different enemy.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.