Ceasefire for 48 hours in three Syrian towns
A 48-hour ceasefire agreed between Syrian government and rebel forces went into effect before dawn Wednesday in three embattled towns: rebel-held Zabadani near the Lebanese border, and two Idlib provincial towns under army control, Fuaa and Kafraya. A halt on military operations was agreed to allow food and medical aid to reach besieged areas. Insurgent group Ahrar al-Sham, an ally of al-Nusra Front, was said to be leading negotiations from the rebels' side and Hizballah, on behalf of the Syrian government.
Earlier, rebel forces were reported to have advanced to the edge of the north-western region that is the heartland of President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite sect.