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Some 200 terrorists lay down weapons, join Syrian army

6 January 2017 14:31

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Nearly 200 terrorists from several villages on the southwestern outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus, have turned themselves in and joined the ranks of the Syrian army.

The militants from the villages of Beit Saber, Beit Tima, Saasaa al-Gharbiyeh, Hassno and Kafar Hour handed over their weapons to the authorities and pledged not to get involved in any act that might harm the homeland’s security, said Mou’men Jarida, chairman of the Local Reconciliation Committee in the countryside of Damascus and Dara’a.

Jarida noted that the local reconciliation process will soon be implemented in the southern and western parts of Quneitra Province and in the south of Dara’a province.

The move comes as part of the Syrian government’s policy of boosting Syrian-Syrian dialogue to resolve the crisis in the country. Nearly 1,200 militants are expected to turn in their weapons throughout the process.

According to the Ministry of Justice, the legal status of 4,746 former militants was settled in 2016 within the framework of the reconciliation plan which seeks to restore the activities of state institutions in the countryside of Damascus.

In recent weeks, hundreds of militants have laid down arms in different areas in order to fall under an amnesty law issued last year by President Bashar al-Assad, which pardons those ceasing to partake in the armed conflict.

The latest development comes in the wake of a countrywide ceasefire in Syria, which came into effect on December 30, 2016, on the back of negotiations between Russia and Turkey.

During the talks, Russia was representing the Syrian government, while Turkey, which has been supporting the militants in favor of ousting Assad, was negotiating on their behalf. The ceasefire was later ratified in a UN Security Council resolution.

Russia, Turkey had clinched a similar deal in December that brought about a ceasefire in the northwestern Syrian city of Aleppo.

Aleppo was liberated from militant control earlier in the month in a blow to the open-handed support the militants have been receiving from foreign states.

The Syrian government and opposition groups are set to attend a round of peace talks in the Kazakh capital, Astana, mediated by Russia, Iran and Turkey. No exact date has been set for the start of the diplomatic process.

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