In a deal announced by Russia and later confirmed by both Syria’s government and rebels, a new ceasefire has been reached in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta, with an immediate cessation of hostilities expected to give way to new peace talks.
Eastern Ghouta is the last major rebel-held area around the capital city, and has been the site of a lot of recent fighting, as the Syrian military has tried to expel the rebels from the area, to secure their hold on the entire area around Damascus.
Both the government and the rebels appeared upbeat about the deal, with rebel group Failaq al-Rahman saying it was the first step toward resolving the entire Syrian conflict. Both sides, however, also warned the other sideto make sure they respected the deal.
It’s not clear what the end-game is for this ceasefire for either side, but recent history suggests that the Syrian government will be keen to try to negotiate some sort of evacuation deal to get the rebels out of the strategically important area, and transplant them somewhere further north.