On September 29, representatives of the Syrian opposition and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups in the Eastern Qalamun region met with Russian officials in Jayrud town in the eastern Qalamun region, according to pro-opposition sources.

The two sides reportedly discussed the de-escalation agreement in the region, and the so far successful ceasefire in the region.

However, opposition sources argue that the Syrian government is now pressuring the FSA to replace the de-escalation agreement with a full reconciliation agreement.

According to reports the Syrian government wants to deploy the Syrian Arab Army in the Eastern Qalamun region after all FSA fighters hand over their weapons or withdraw to Idlib governorate.

However, the FSA will not likely agree to the Syrian government demands mostly because of a pressure that it faces from Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda).

Jaish al-Islam is the biggest armed group in Eastern Qalamun. Its local branch had worked before with the SAA against ISIS. The Syrian Air Force has even provided Jaish al-Islam close air support against ISIS many times since 2014. However, such an agreement is still considered very difficult to reach as HTS has a notable influence in the region.

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