The ceasefire comes after days of bombardment on Damascus’s southern district, and it would allow rebel fighters to move to Idlib in northern Syria
Palestinian refugees gather at the Yarmouk camp, July 2017 Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons/UNRWA
Syrian state television reported a ceasefire agreement with rebel groups fighting against President Assad’s forces in the district of Yarmouk, a predominantly Palestinian neighborhood in southern Damascus. The reported agreement comes a few days after the Syrian Army declared victory over Islamic State fighters in the area, with many relocating to territories far from the city. The Free Syrian Army reported that Russia played a role in brokering this ceasefire, allowing those soldiers to relocate to the rebel-dominant Idlib province.
Sources on the ground indicated that the ceasefire would allow around 1,500 fighters to relocate from Yarmouk and the release of 85 prisoners held by the Syrian army. The ceasefire follows days of continuous bombardment by the Syrian regime in the district, in what seems to be a continued strategy of bombarding rebel-held areas until they are forced to exit. 5,000 civilians are also expected to be allowed to depart as part of the agreement.
The ceasefire began this Monday morning, and the participants agreed to complete all elements of the deal before the beginning of Ramadan next month. Humanitarian groups have been requesting access to the area, which already held various NGOs working in it due to the large Palestinian refugee population there. So far, no source has indicated that the evacuations have begun.