The Assad regime and armed opposition groups have concluded a truce in Syria’s western Homs province, which already falls within one of four de-escalation zones set up in the war-torn country.
According to an Anadolu Agency correspondent based in Homs, the terms of the truce correspond with conditions laid down at earlier peace talks in Kazakh capital Astana.
“The deal was made in line with ceasefire terms set out in Astana,” Fatih Hassun, the Homs representative for Syria’s opposition-run High Negotiations Committee (HNC), said.
“The [opposition] groups signed on to the truce deal with the approval of the HNC,” Hassun told Anadolu Agency.
Opposition and Russian representatives (the latter of whom spoke on behalf of the Syrian regime) hammered out the terms of the deal late Thursday in Homs’s opposition-held town of Dar al-Kabirah.
According to the written agreement, a copy of which was obtained by Anadolu Agency, the truce will allow aid convoys into the area to provide badly-needed humanitarian assistance.
Opposition representatives in Dar al-Kabirah also handed over a list to the Russians including the names of some 12,000 prisoners who they say remain held by the Syrian regime.
For the last five years, roughly 250,000 civilians in Homs’s northern countryside have remained under siege by regime forces.
At peace talks in Astana in early May, the area was declared a de-escalation zone by guarantor states Turkey, Russia and Iran.
In August, Russia had announced that a truce agreement had been concluded in Homs between the regime and armed opposition groups.
The Free Syrian Army, however, rejected that deal, saying that only a single opposition group “with little influence” had signed on to it.