BEIRUT — Syrian government officials promised to allow food into a rebel-held town near Damascus that has been under military blockade for months, on condition that residents raise the Syrian national flag and rebels hand over heavy weapons, said activists Thursday.
Residents of Moadamiyeh, west of the capital, and rebels in the town agreed to the terms, and on Thursday residents were flying the national flag of red, black and white strips, with two green stars, over buildings, said the spokesman of the local town council.
The raising of the flag is a symbolic victory for the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad as it battles rebels who have seized a ring of neighborhood around the capital, a major front in the nearly 3-year-old civil.. The secular opposition in the uprising against Assad uses a different flag with green, white and black stripes and three red stars.
Syrian government officials typically do not comment on truce deals. The timing may be to bolster Assad's position ahead of internationally-brokered peace talks that are set for January.