BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:45 P.M.) – Russian troops and rebel fighters have once again met up in northern Homs Governorate to discuss terms and conditions surrounding a planned ceasefire agreement that will see a major de-escalation of the militant-held Rastan region (also commonly referred to as the Rastan pocket).
Yesterday, the SMAART news agency released video footage of the gathering which took place at a tent serving as a Russian Reconciliation Center outpost inside militant-held territory.
If the ongoing ceasefire talks are successful, both government-led forces and rebel forces will demilitarize the section of the Homs-to-Hama highway that passes to the east of the Rastan pocket and allow for its sole monitoring by Russian peacekeepers. At the same time, increased food supplies and other necessities will be allowed into militant-held areas of the Rastan region on a more regular basis.
Rebel negotiators appear increasingly more willing to partake in the de-escalation agreement, however continue to place great emphasis on the need for the Syrian government to release of certain prisoners held by it as well as for a cessation to artillery attacks and airstrikes.