A new ceasefire agreement concerning Foua and Kefraya towns in Idlib province and Zabadani and Madaya towns in Damascus province was reached on Friday and took effect starting from 6:00 PM (Damascus time).

In accordance with the terms of agreement, jihadist militants of “Jaish Al-Fateh” (“Army of conquest”) coalition commit themselves to stop artillery and mortar shelling of the two besieged towns in Idlib countryside. In return, Russian and Syrian Air Forces cease airstrikes on the neighbouring towns of Taftanaz and Maarat Misrin. In addition to that, Hezbollah stops targeting streets of Zabadani and Madaya towns in northwestern Damascus countryside with sniper fire.

The agreement also provides for the second stage which includes allowing of humanitarian aid to all the four towns. This second part will take effect if both sides abide the aforementioned initial terms of the deal. If so, Hezbollah will re-open humanitarian corridors into Zabadani and Madaya, while jihadists will do the same for Foua and Kefraya.

Foua and Kefraya are predominately Shia Muslim towns that have been besieged by Salafi jihadists for almost two years. Zabadani and Madaya, in turn, were encircled and blocked by Hezbollah forces during their large scale military operation carried out in September, 2015. Since that moment, both sides (Jaish Al-Fateh and Hezbollah) have been using the respective towns as a leverage in negotiations with each other.

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Writer, translator. Former communications engineer. Contributor at both AMN Russian and AMN English.

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