A member of Syria’s opposition forces speaks with a woman from the National Defense Force, which is loyal to Assad, in Babila.
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Pictures of rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar Assad laughing and shaking hands after a local cease-fire have sparked outrage on both sides, shocked at the outpouring of goodwill after three years of fierce bloodletting.Some rebels in the Damascus suburbs said the pictures were staged, arguing the rebel gunmen were actually pro-Assad militias dressed to look like opposition fighters.Rebels and Assad's government forces who agreed to the truces will now work joint checkpoints and patrols using the name of "Local Defense Committees".The army sieges, which include near-daily bombardment, have halted rebel advances and cut off supply lines, but have been unable to dislodge the rebels.Commentators on both sides were particularly incensed by an image of a female member of the pro-Assad paramilitary group, known as the National Defense Forces, smiling as she spoke to a rebel fighter. Even those in support of local cease-fires, however, say such truces are not a sign that local fighters on the ground actually have a better rapport than jet-setting diplomats.
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