A ceasefire agreement reached just weeks ago between the Syrian government and the opposition factions in the Old City of Homs has evolved into a comprehensive agreement for the evacuation of fighters from the besieged neighborhoods and allowing the regime to take control.
The regime and opposition forces have now signed a new agreement for a ceasefire in the neighborhood of Waar in Homs, which was not included in the previous agreement, concluded earlier in May, allowing opposition fighters to evacuate the city center towards the Homs countryside, under the auspices of the United Nations and with participation from Iran and Russia.
The Waer neighborhood hosts tens of thousands of displaced people from other areas in the province of Homs in central Syria. The regime seems determined to complete the compromise deal in Homs by taking control over the neighborhood, which is in the rebel-held area, before the presidential election scheduled for 3 June. President Bashar Assad is expected to be re-elected for a new term of seven years.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights announced on Saturday that "the ceasefire in the neighborhood of Waer began 36 hours ago and is expected to last for three days, in preparation for an agreement to be signed in the coming days between the forces of the regime and the Islamic brigades in the neighborhood."
It is not clear how the agreement wil be implemented. The deal in Old Homs permitted the evacuation of nearly 2,000 armed opposition fighters to the countryside of the city, and the village of Dar al-Kabira.
The announcement of the new ceasefire came hours after "the battalions and brigades in the neighborhood announced the formation of a joint operations room in the neighborhood as a first step toward unifying and coordinating the efforts to address and confront Assad's criminal machine and those supporting it by word or deed," according to a statement cited by the Observatory, adding that the reason the operations room was established was "to make it responsible for everything in the neighborhood; military, services, protection, negotiation, and conflict resolution to reduce the abuse of all citizens in the neighborhood and to fight the phenomenon of kidnapping and assault, in order to unite the efforts of journalists and activists whether they are civilians or military."
"This room is also to gather all individuals, groups and battalions across the neighborhood to stand to support Syria and its people, and to preserve the lives of civilians and the foundations and objectives of the noble Jasmine Revolution".
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer