Hezbollah Announces Truce Covering Three Syrian Towns

Hezbollah Announces Truce Covering Three Syrian TownsHezbollah Announces Truce Covering Three Syrian Towns

Lebanon’s movement Hezbollah has said that a six-month truce has been agreed for the militant-held town of Zabadani and two Shia towns in the northwest.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah told the movement’s Al-Manar television on Friday that the deal was reached under the auspices of the UN with mediation from Iran, AFP reported.

Nasrallah said the deal will entail the “evacuation of armed and wounded men from Zabadani to Idlib province in exchange for the evacuation of 10,000 civilians from the villages of Fuaa and Kafraya to zones controlled by the government”.

“There will be no more fighters in Zabadani,” Nasrallah said, indicating that the Syrian Army could enter the remaining militant-held areas and take control.

He said that civilians living in and around Zabadani who did not want to stay could also go to Idlib safely.

  Positive Developments

On Thursday, UN spokeswoman Jessy Chahine said there had been “positive developments in the talks, which were facilitated by the UN,” but added that it was up to the parties themselves to say if there was a deal to announce.

Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the truce was reached between militant fighters, including Ahrar al-Sham, and government forces and Hezbollah.

Short truces agreed previously between the warring parties have often been broken.

A Syrian source close to the talks said that the accord would see the evacuation of some 10,000 civilians from besieged Fuaa and Kafraya on Saturday and Sunday.

They will be driven out in Red Cross vehicles to government-controlled areas.

In exchange, about 500 militant fighters will withdraw from Zabadani and head for Idlib province.