It took several months and a lot of negotiating on the part of the Minister of State for National Reconciliation Affairs, Dr. ‘Ali Haidar, to finally convince the armed opposition groups and the National Defense Forces (NDF) inside the southern Damascus town of Al-Husseiniyeh to put down their arms and agree to a permanent ceasefire to end the hostilities and allow for civilians to come back home.

For Dr. ‘Ali Haidar; it was an arduous journey, but also, a fulfilling one, as both the Syrian Opposition Forces and the National Defense Forces signed a joint ceasefire and reconciliation agreement that would welcome the citizens of the Al-Husseiniyeh to return home without the fear of firefights emerging between the two parties.

According to a military source in southern Damascus, part of the ceasefire and reconciliation agreement in Al-Husseiniyeh contains the restriction of heavy weaponry for the rebel fighters, the arrest of all non-Syrian nationals, the abandonment of all tunnels, and removal of all rebel checkpoints at the outer-perimeter of the town.

In return, the National Defense Forces must allow for the armed opposition fighters to remain in Al-Husseiniyeh and continue their civilian life without prosecution of any crimes committed previously – all rebel fighters will be exonerated of any crime they were accused of by the Syrian security forces.

On Sunday, over 100 families poured into the town of Al-Husseiniyeh (mostly Palestinians from the Jarmana Camp), where they were greeted by members of the National Defense Forces and opposition fighters before they would make their way to the housing projects.

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