Syria

Damascus delivers aid to militant-held town

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The Syrian government has delivered aid to residents in a militant-held town south of the capital Damascus, Press TV reports.

Syrian government aid workers entered Babila town, battered by fierce fighting with the foreign-backed militants, and distributed food aid.

Meanwhile, demonstrators gathered in the town, calling for unity among Syrians as they carried placards for ending bloodshed and starting a dialogue in the crisis-hit country.

The move came in the wake of a reconciliation agreement reached with the militants last year, bringing quiet to Babila.

“About 30 percent of the reconciliation deal has been implemented,” said Fadel al-Khatib, a member of the reconciliation committee. “We aim to restore the main services back so that life would be normal.

“We are preparing for the third stage of the deal which is to have the displaced returning home.”

The Syrian armed men in and around the town said they could push out the Takfiri militants of the ISIL and al-Nusra Front with the help of the town’s residents.

“We didn’t benefit from weapons. We should start a dialogue. The government is delivering aid, but we need more,” said a resident.

The residents of the town acknowledged that the reconciliation has made the situation better there.

“The situation got better after the reconciliation deal,” said a female resident. “Before, we weren’t able to go out. After the ceasefire, we go in and out.”

If the deal holds, Syrian armed groups will finally be under the umbrella of national defense forces, whose head in Damascus entered the town.

As reconciliation continues between the government and some Syrian armed groups, the country faces the challenges posed by Takfiri militancy.

Syria has been grappling with a deadly crisis since March 2011. Western powers and their regional allies – especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey – are the main supporters of the militants operating inside Syria.

More than 200,000 people have died so far in the conflict in Syria, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein.

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