Regime Seeks Truce in Besieged Town of Moadamiya al-Sham

Sources say residents and rebels voice initial approval of proposed deal after Assad regime offers blockaded city last chance

A new reconciliation deal between rebels and the Assad regime is underway in the besieged town of Moadamiya al-Sham in the Damascus countryside.

According to sources, the deal is being mediated between prominent figures within the regime and leaders of rebel factions in the city.

The sources added that mediators are attempting to resolve the situation in Moadamiya in light of the hunger crisis affecting some 30,000 people as the holy month of Ramadan approaches.

Regime mediators have threatened to continue sealing the besieged Moadamiya off if the rebels do not accept their terms.

A document provided by the Assad regime has demanded the implementation of 11 conditions for “reconciliation,” which include limiting the number of tunnels on front lines, recording the number of weapons in the city, and creating a list of fighters who accept a settlement and those who reject it.

The paper also demands the rebels’ acceptance of negotiations with more than one security branch and not only with the Division Four military unit.

Iqtissad has obtained information stating the demands were discussed during a meeting with prominent figures in the city where everyone had shown initial consent.

Other Clauses

The regime’s document also includes further clauses related to the control of weaponry, the formation of popular committee and mutual checkpoints on the outskirts of the city, and the entrance of state institutions. In turn, the regime has agreed to open the city and allow aid and other services to enter.

A large segment of the city’s residents voiced relief with the regime’s proposal while rebel factions gave initial consent. According to the document, fighters who reject the proposed settlement will be allowed to leave the city.

Maher, 29, said to Iqtissad, “I think this paper reflects the terrible situation in Moadamiya after its separation from (its) sister city Daraya. The unification of the two cities gave them double strength.”

But Imaad, 35, cautioned, “Wait for a few days and you will see people dead in streets. The hunger has no mercy brother. There is no food left and nothing left at all.”

Sheikh “Y” said in a meeting after Friday prayers, “The situation is very bad and we know the regime’s demands are extremely difficult. However, the rebels have to compromise for the sake of thousands of civilians who suffer [from the] worst types of punishment.”

Um Ram, 27, added, “They [the regime] want to suck people’s anger and resentment. It is not the first time they have talked about a reconciliation and about opening the city. But since Ramadan is near and especially as there is not much food, they are trying to calm us down by doing this.”

This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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