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Syrian govt., militants agree to truce near Damascus, Idlib

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The file photo shows Syrian army forces in the border town of Zabadani, about 46 kilometers (29 miles) northwest of the capital, Damascus.

The Syrian government forces along with allied fighters have agreed to a ceasefire with militants in some areas in the provinces of Idlib and Damascus.

The ceasefire took effect at noon in the villages of al-Foua and Kefraya in Idlib and in the towns of Zabadani and al-Mazaya in Damascus Province on Sunday, Lebanon’s al-Manar TV quoted sources who were speaking on condition of anonymity.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported that the two sides have agreed on the ceasefire, saying that there has been no report on the duration of the armistice.

"Fighters stopped military operations early this morning, but the official ceasefire will begin at noon (0900 GMT)," the UK-based rights group's chief, Rami Abdel Rahman, said.

The development comes as reports said on Saturday that Syrian troops, backed by pro-government forces, killed more than 100 al-Qaeda-linked terrorists during a series of violent clashes in Idlib.

The militants were killed after local forces repelled fresh attacks by the al-Nusra Front terrorist group on al-Foua and Kefraya. Both villages fell under siege by the al-Nusra Front terrorists more than five months ago. Dozens of civilians have been killed and hundreds injured in the two villages so far.

In addition, the Syrian army, backed by fighters from the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, liberated more areas in the flashpoint border town of Zabadani on Saturday.

Syrian army forces are seen in the key southwestern city of Zabadani. (File photo)

Syria’s official news agency, SANA, quoted a military source as saying that the joint forces carried out a swift operation that led to advances in the direction of al-Aara neighborhood in the center of Zabadani.

The foreign-sponsored conflict in Syria is entering its fifth year. It has reportedly claimed more than 240,000 lives up until now.

The United Nations says the militancy has displaced more than 7.2 million Syrians internally, and compelled over four million others to take refuge in neighboring countries, including Jordan and Lebanon.

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