Pro-regime fighters (R) speak with a rebel fighter in the town of Babbila, a suburb of Damascus, during a cease fire agreement between the group controlling the town and the regime on February 17, 2014. AFP PHOTO /LOUAI BESHARA
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Syria's army and rebels have agreed local truces in key flashpoints around Damascus, despite regime and opposition representatives failing to make any progress in Geneva peace talks.On Monday, regime troops raised the flag over the municipality in Babbila, which was a rebel rear base until several months ago when the army laid siege to it.Tens of thousands of civilians in rebel areas have suffered for months under suffocating sieges.Activists say the truces come as the army turns to siege tactics after being unable to neutralise pockets of resistance, and as rebels failed to break into Damascus proper.One Damascus activist calling himself Adam said the ceasefires have strong local backing from residents forced to pay exorbitant prices for basic needs, amid skyrocketing inflation and corruption.He said even those who wanted to see the rebels fight to the death have not opposed the truces.
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