Damascus to Host Talks With Leaders of 11 Moderate Opposition Groups

Leaders of 11 armed groups of moderate opposition from the Eastern Kalamun region, in southwestern Syria’s Rif Dimashq Governorate, have agreed to arrive in Damascus on Sunday to discuss truce with the government, a TASS correspondent reported.

The decision was made after talks with the Russian military from the Center of Reconciliation of the Warring Parties. The Russian military have already agreed with the Syrian army on simplifying the procedures for checks at the government roadblocks. They also regularly send convoys with humanitarian assistance there.

The reconciliation center will coordinate the talks and will act as a guarantor of security for all its parties.

The militants, who agreed to participate in the talks, control five major cities in the Eastern Kalamun region, home to about 200,000 people. The elders and civilians had convinced them to sit down at the negotiating table.

The field commanders of Eastern Kalamun agreed to hold talks with the Syrian government provided that the Russian military take part in the process. “We hope that Russia, which acts as a guarantor at the talks, will use its authority and we will be able to find common ground with the government in our area. Other provinces will follow suit and the national crisis will end,” one of them stressed.

After the talks the participants of illegal armed groups in Eastern Kalamun, numbering about 2,000, may join the government forces as people’s militias or lay down arms.

Under the decree of Syrian President Bashar Assad, all citizens of the areas controlled by militants, including those who took part in the fighting alongside with the armed groups, may join the reconciliation process.

In order to control the effort, a special commission for ceasefire has been set up in the Syrian capital of Damascus, which is personally overseen by the president. At the moment, more than 20,000 citizens have become the participants of the process.





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