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Syrian army declares combat cessation in south of country

Syrian army troops stand guard in Syria's southwestern Quneitra Province on July 2, 2017 during ongoing clashes for the control of the city of Baath. (Photo by AFP)
Syria says it has suspended military operations in the south of the Arab country, including in Quneitra Province, where the Israeli regime has targeted army outposts in recent days.
The Syrian Arab Army announced the news in a statement carried by the country's state television on Monday, adding that the ceasefire had taken effect from midday (0900 GMT) on Sunday and will continue until Thursday.
The army general command further said that the measure had been adopted in order to support "reconciliation efforts," in the second unilateral truce in the last two weeks.
Last week, armed opposition forces launched an attack against government-held Baath city, the provincial capital of the Syrian Golan Heights, seizing the southern and western fringes of the city. A counterattack launched by army troops, however, soon pushed back the armed militants from most of their newly-occupied areas.  
Back in June 17, the army declared a two-day ceasefire, which only affected fighting in the southwestern city of Dara'a, capital of a province with the same name, along the border with Israel. The truce later extended to the whole of southern Syria.
During ceasefire talks in the Kazakh capital city of Astana in May, Russia, with backing from Turkey and the Islamic Republic of Iran, brokered a deal for establishing de-escalation zones in Syria’s mainly militant-held areas.
The plan, which came into effect at midnight on May 5, calls for the cessation of hostilities between the militant groups and Syrian government forces.  
It covers the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, northeastern areas of the western coastal province of Latakia, western areas of Aleppo Province and northern areas of Hama Province. 
The deal also applies to the Rastan and Talbiseh enclave in Homs Province, Eastern Ghouta district in the northern Damascus countryside as well as the militant-controlled southern part of the country along the border with Jordan.

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