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Source: abna.ir     17/06/2017

Syrian army declares 2-day combat cessation in southern city

The announcement Saturday comes days after the contested city witnessed some of the worst fighting in months amid fears by opposition activists that the government will try to take Daraa, where the country’s civil war began in 2011. 

In a statement, the army’s General Command said that all combat operations will stop as of Saturday 12 p.m. (0900 GMT) for 48 hours. 

Earlier this week, a western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said in Beirut that officials from the United States, Russia and Jordan were holding closed-door meetings in Amman to halt the fighting between the militants and government troops in southern Syria. 

The diplomat added that the officials were exchanging viewpoints on the boundaries of a ceasefire line between the foreign-backed extremists and Syrian army soldiers, which is projected to yield a comprehensive agreement and outline the control of border crossings with Jordan. 

During ceasefire talks in the Kazakh capital city of Astana last month, Russia, with backing from Turkey and the Islamic Republic of Iran, brokered a deal for establishing de-escalation zones in Syria’s mainly militant-held areas. 

The plan, which came into effect at midnight on May 5, calls for the cessation of hostilities between the militant groups and Syrian government forces. 

It covers the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, northeastern areas of the western coastal province of Latakia, western areas of Aleppo province and northern areas of Hama province. 

The deal also applies to the Rastan and Talbiseh enclave in Homs province, Eastern Ghouta district in the northern Damascus countryside as well as the militant-controlled southern part of the country along the border with Jordan. 

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