Syria opposition source says no plan to deploy Egyptian forces in Eastern Ghouta
A Syrian opposition source told Al-Arabiya.net that the agreement to de-escalate the conflict in Eastern Ghouta did not include any agreement to deploy Egyptian or Russian forces in the area.
He also denied any Egyptian mediation to urge Jaish al-Islam to engage in direct or indirect negotiations with the Syrian regime. The source added that the Syrian regime was not represented during the negotiations held in Cairo.
“We only signed with Russia and we did not sign any agreement with the Syrian regime as it seems it does not want a truce,” he said. According to the agreement, monitoring forces that include Russian police will deploy on Ghouta’s outskirts and their number will not exceed 100, he said.
“There is communication between Jaysh al-Islam and Faylaq al-Rahman through members of the Geneva delegation and Daraa factions in the southern front to finalize the agreement,” the source said, adding that “negotiations between Russia and Faylaq al-Rahman are ongoing and they’re preparing to sign the agreement soon.”
Jaish al-Islam signed the agreement first because there are no Nusra Front members in the areas it controls, unlike areas controlled by Faylaq al-Rahman, he said.
On the role which Syria’s Tomorrow Movement played in terms of the agreement, the source said it contributed to preparing it, adding that “Jaysh al-Islam’s relation with the movement’s head Ahmad al-Jarba is good.”
Commenting on the Syrian opposition’s statements that it did not know about the agreement, the source said that Jaish al-Islam consulted everyone and worked within the framework of the UN Security Council Resolution 2254.
The source noted that Russia accepted to keep away from Astana “because Iran is present in it,” adding that “this is why they chose to sign the agreement in Cairo.” He also said that Jaish al-Islam’s only guarantee is weapons.
“The regime will not be allowed into Ghouta. No one will be displaced and the injured will not evacuated. According to the deal, anyone who wants to be treated outside Ghouta will be treated outside it and his safety will be guaranteed until his return,” he added.
As for the duration specified to evaluate the truce, the source said there was no specific timeframe and warned that the Syrian regime’s ongoing shelling of Ghouta cities meant that “the agreement is null.”
This article is also available in Arabic.