Syrian army declares 4-day ceasefire in southern Syria

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-03 21:35:13|Editor: Zhang Dongmiao
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DAMASCUS, July 3 (Xinhua) -- The Syrian army announced a four-day ceasefire in southern Syria, ahead of the upcoming peace talks in Astana.

In a statement, the Syrian army said the ceasefire started on July 2 and will last until July 6. It added that the ceasefire includes the provinces of Daraa, Qunaitera, and Sweida.

The cessation of hostilities aims to support the peaceful process, and the national reconciliations, the statement said.

It warned, however, that any breach will be responded to "properly."

The new announcement comes as the fifth round of Astana talks is set to begin on Tuesday, and it apparently came to clear the tense atmosphere, particularly after several rebel groups in southern Syria said they were not going to take part in the new meeting in Astana.

Last May, during the Astana talks, Russia, Turkey and Iran signed an agreement to establish four de-escalation zones inside Syria.

The de-escalation zones covered four opposition-held areas in Syria, namely Idlib, Homs, Eastern Ghouta and Daraa.

The agreement has reduced fighting on the ground, until recently when the foreign-backed rebels in Qunaitera launched several attacks to capture the al-Baath city at the outskirts of that province, near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, prompting the Syrian army to respond to foil the attacks.