3 Syrian rebel groups agree to Damascus truce

The Associated Press BEIRUT (AP) — Three Syrian opposition factions have agreed to a ceasefire in southern Damascus under an agreement brokered by Egypt and Russia that was not signed by the Syrian government, officials said Thursday.

The deal did not specify the area, but the three rebel groups control a pocket south of Damascus that is adjacent to areas controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militant group. The deal would allow for humanitarian access but, unlike other similar agreements, would not involve the relocation of militants or residents.

Several such deals in recent years have involved bussing tens of thousands of people to the rebel-held Idlib province, in northwestern Syria. The opposition has accused the government of forced displacement, charges denied by Syrian officials.

Egypt’s state-run MENA news agency said the deal did not include the Syrian government. Russia has been a main backer of President Bashar Assad’s government, while Egypt has maintained intelligence and security cooperation with the government since 2013.Speech

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