Report: Syrian regime agrees to ceasefire with rebels in town near Lebanon border
Syrian government forces withdrew Wednesday from the town of Zabadani near the Lebanese border, after agreeing a cease-fire with insurgents, a senior official of the Syrian opposition said on Thursday. Dozens of tanks and armored vehicles have surrounded Zabadani, 30 km northwest of Damascus, since Friday. However, they withdrew Wednesday to a garrison located eight miles away, said Kamal al Labwani. Food and essential supplies have started flocking to the city, he added.
"The attack on Zabadani may resume at any time. Perhaps they just replaced the soldiers who were reluctant to take the city by storm," warned Labwani, who is located in Amman, Jordan.
The government forces' attack on Zabadani began on Friday, after a series of protests in this town against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.
According to Maher Ismail, a spokesman for the Free Syrian Army, the regime agreed to the truce because it knows that due to the mountainous terrain that characterizes Zabadani the rebels would inflict heavy losses to the regime, despite the facts the regime forces are better equipped. However, he expected that the loyalist of Bashar Assad are planning for a new strategy to attack the town and force the surrender of the insurgents.
Under the agreement reached between the leaders of the town and the deputy defense minister, Asef Shawkat, brother-in-law of President Assad, the Syrian army withdrew from the outskirts of the town.
Meanwhile, Lebanon's Hizbullah has issued a statement, dismissing reports its fighters participated in the bombing of Zabadani: "Per reports the Syrian opposition, some Arab media and other websites over the attack of Hizbullah with Katyusha rockets, we can say one thing: these charges are ridiculous, laughable and unfounded," said the Shiite group, denouncing a "smear campaign that has been lasting for months."