Landmark truce to allow aid into besieged Syrian town near Damascus Thursday
Syrian regime and rebel forces reached a landmark truce Wednesday in a besieged town close to Damascus that will allow aid agencies to deliver supplies to starving civilians, according to Agence France-Presse.
The truce Wednesday took place in Moadamiyet Al Sham, which has been under siege for over a year.
Aid agencies have 72 hours to fly in critical aid and food supplies to thousands of starving, trapped civilians in the town.
"A truce came into force on Wednesday, and the people have accepted as a gesture of goodwill to fly the regime flag over the town's water towers [in exchange for aid supplies]," Abu Malek, a member of the town's local opposition council, said via the Internet.
"Food should be allowed into the town on Thursday. If this goes well, we will hand over the heavy weapons, but the regime army will not enter the town. Then in the next phase, people who were displaced should be allowed to return home, without being arrested, and the checkpoints around the city must be removed," added Abu Malek.
AFP's source who is close to Syrian President Bashar Al Assad's regime forces confirmed the truce, but said that the regime army planned to enter the town to "ensure all the weapons have been handed over."
Abu Malek told AFP that civilians of the town are "divided" over the truce, with some believing that "it is more important to feed the civilian women and children," while others do not want to be "perceived as giving in."
Wednesday represents the first day in many months that there was no shelling on the town, according to Abu Malek.
Moadamiyet Al Sham was originally home to approximately 15,000 civilians, but many have died under the siege and others (approximately 3,800) were evacuated by the Red Crescent in October.