Truce be­tween Hezbol­lah fight­ers, mil­i­tants starts in Syria

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY BASSEM MROUE

A two-day truce agreed on be­tween Le­banese Hezbol­lah fight­ers in a Syr­ian bor­der town and mil­i­tant and rebels groups there went into ef­fect on Wed­nes­day, a Le­banese TV sta­tion and ac­tivists said.

The cease- fire si­lenced the guns in the town of Zabadani and two north­ern Shi­ite vil­lages, Foua and Kfarya, ac­cord­ing to the Hezbol­lah’s TV chan­nel Al-Ma­nar and the Bri­tain-based Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights.

Syr­ian gov­ern­ment troops and their Hezbol­lah al­lies have been try­ing to fully cap­ture the one­time rebel strong­hold of Zabadani for more than a month.

A coali­tion of rebel groups which calls it­self Jaysh al-Fateh, or Con­quest Army, re­tal­i­ated by at­tack­ing the be­sieged Foua and Kfarya in Idlib province, which are home to mostly Shi­ite vil­lagers. A large num­ber of civil­ians have been trapped there by the fight­ing.

The Ob­ser­va­tory said that dur­ing the truce, Ira­nian and Hezbol­lah me­di­a­tors will ne­go­ti­ate with fight­ers in Zabadani on se­cur­ing buses to take mil­i­tants from the town in re­turn for al­low­ing hu­man­i­tar­ian and food as­sis­tance to en­ter Foua and Kfarya. It said some fight­ers are re­fus­ing to leave Zabadani.

The truce ap­plies to ev­ery­one in the area, in­clud­ing Syr­ian gov­ern­ment forces.

Mean­while, Amnesty In­ter­na­tional on Wed­nes­day ac­cused the Syr­ian gov­ern­ment of com­mit­ting war crimes this year in the eastern sub­urbs of the cap­i­tal, Damascus, known as Eastern Ghouta — the latest in a string of such ac­cu­sa­tions by the Lon­don­based group.

Amnesty said that more than 163,000 have been liv­ing un­der siege in the area and that be­tween Jan­uary and June this year, Syr­ian gov­ern­ment forces car­ried out at least 60 aerial at­tacks on Eastern Ghouta, killing around 500 civil­ians.

“The lives of civil­ians in Eastern Ghouta have been dev­as­tated by blood­shed and tragedy. They are trapped and sur­rounded by fight­ing on all fronts with no means to es­cape the un­law­ful aerial and shelling at­tacks waged by gov­ern­ment forces,” said Said Boume­douha, Amnesty’s Mideast and North Africa di­rec­tor.

“Their an­guish is com­pounded by dwin­dling sup­plies of food, clean wa­ter and other cru­cial ne­ces­si­ties,” he added.

The Ob­ser­va­tory and

Syria- based ac­tivist Hadi Ab­dul­lah said war­planes of the U.S.-led coali­tion struck a post run by a mil­i­tant group known as Sunna Army, which is close to al-Qaida’s af­fil­i­ate in Syria, on Tues­day night.

The strike on the north­ern vil­lage of At­meh killed at least 18 peo­ple, in­clud­ing 10 fight­ers and eight civil­ians, the Ob­ser­va­tory said.

AP

This im­age pro­vided by Ryot shows a scene from a vir­tual re­al­ity short film of Syr­i­ans trav­el­ing on the street near the Aleppo Bridge for safety from the snipers tar­get­ing the con­densed area in Syria.

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