Reuters reports: Syria’s warring parties declared a 48-hour ceasefire in two frontline areas on Wednesday after unprecedented mediation from Turkey and Iran, signaling a new approach by some of the main regional backers of the opposing sides.
The ceasefire halted fighting between insurgents on the one hand, and the army and its Lebanese militant Hezbollah allies on the other, in the rebel-held town of Zabadani and in a pair of Shi’ite Muslim villages in Idlib province.
The two areas are strongholds of each side under ferocious attack by the other. Sources familiar with the talks, which have been under way for weeks, said the truce could be extended to give time for ongoing negotiations aimed at evacuating civilians and combatants.
Three officials close to Damascus described the truce as a result of mediation by Turkey, which backs rebels fighting against President Bashar al-Assad, and Iran, whose support has been vital to his survival. [Continue reading…]