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Jihadis ask Syrian army for help against Al-Qaeda

Pictures of Amer Deghayes from new Vice News film in Syria. Must credit Vice News

Reports from Syria suggest that the battle for Wadi Barada, and the water crisis in Damascus it is causing, may be coming to an end.

It seems that following Syrian army advances, and after negotiations brokered by a team of Russian officers, several Jihadi groups in Wadi Barada have agreed to lay down their arms.

The agreement appears to follow the usual lines well known from the battle of Aleppo, with local Jihadis being allowed to leave for Idlib, or to stay and surrender to the Syrian army.

The battle of Wadi Barada is not however fully over, with Al-Qaeda – which is responsible for the water crisis, and which is not covered by the Russian-Turkish ceasefire – refusing to surrender, and supposedly appointing a new commander.  There are even some reports that some local Jihadi groups, under pressure from Al-Qaeda to continue the battle, are actually asking for help from the Syrian army.

In a sign of how seriously the Syrian government is treating the situation, there are reports that the Syrian troops in the area are being commanded by General Maher Al-Assad, who is President Assad’s brother.

Elsewhere in Syria the Russian-Turkish ceasefire appears to be generally holding, though fighting between the Syrian army and ISIS – which is also not covered by the Russian-Turkish ceasefire – continues in Deir Ezzor and near Palmyra.

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