It took almost three years, but the Islamist rebels and the National Defense Forces (NDF) have finally agreed to implement a permanent ceasefire in the Damascus suburb of Al-Qudsiyah, which is expected to take effect next week.
According to a military source in Damascus, the Syrian Reconciliation Committee – led by Dr. Ali Haidar – facilitated the agreement between the National Defense Forces and Free Syrian Army (FSA) inside Al-Qudsiyah; however, it was often prolonged due to the FSA’s insistence to be transferred to the Dara’a Governorate.
The National Defense Forces’ leadership agreed to lift the siege on Al-Qudsiyah after the rebel leadership accepted the terms of the ceasefire, which included the surrender of all heavy weaponry to the civilian-led militiamen and the reopening of streets to allow for residents to return home.
The details of the ceasefire agreement are as followed:
- The remaining rebel combatants inside Al-Qudisiyah will be transported to either Lebanon or the Dara’a Governorate; it will be their choice.
- The rebel combatants will immediately reopen the streets they control and allow for the Syrian Red Crescent to bring in humanitarian aid to the civilians still inside this suburb.
- All rebel combatants must turn in their heavy weaponry – they will be allowed to carry assault rifles and hand guns.
- Failure to comply with any of these terms will result in the termination of this agreement
As of Tuesday, the ceasefire has been implemented; if successful, thousands of displaced residents will be able to return home.