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Syrian factions reach cease-fire deal for southern Damascus

Weedah Hamzah, DPA on

Published in News & Features

BEIRUT -- Syrian factions have reached a cease-fire agreement for southern Damascus during a meeting in Cairo, Egypt's state media reported.

The deal includes opening main crossings and halting the forced displacement of people living in the rebel-held district of Eastern Ghouta, according to the state-run Al-Ahram newspaper.

It quoted Mohamed Alloush, the head of the political department in the Syrian rebel group Jaish al-Islam, as saying that Egypt had pledged to help break the siege on Eastern Ghouta using diplomatic means and allow in aid "in sufficient quantities to alleviate the suffering in the region."

Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, is one of the last strongholds of rebels fighting President Bashar Assad's forces and was the scene of a chemical weapon attack that killed hundreds in August 2013.

Late Thursday, at least 18 people were killed when an Islamic State suicide bomber driving a truck blew himself up among a group of refugees in northeast Syria, the head of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman, told dpa.

The state-run Syrian News Agency (SANA) said the attack took place in the Abu Fahs region, southwest of al Shadadi, in al-Hassakeh governorate.

The agency said dozens were killed or wounded in the attack.

Abdel Rahman said the attack targeted refugees who were fleeing Islamic State areas in the Deir al-Zour province in eastern Syria.

He added that the dead included civilians and members of the Asayish Kurdish police, who mainly control the area that was targeted by the attack.

The fighting has overwhelmed aid agencies as more than 1,000 people per day have been arriving in internal refugee camps around Raqqa in northeastern Syria and Deir al-Zour.

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