Residents of rebel-held town raise Syrian government flag

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Associated Press

Posted on December 26, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 26 at 6:04 PM

BEIRUT (AP) — Residents of a town held by rebels near the Syrian capital are carrying out their end of a deal, under which the government will lift a blockade and allow food to reach the residents there.

In return, they've had to raise the flag used by the government of President Bashar Assad. Rebels have to hand over their heavy weapons. And the only people who'll be allowed to remain in the town are registered residents -- a condition that is likely to thin the ranks of the rebels.

The deal reported by activists is one of a number of temporary local truces that have been reached between opposition-held towns and government forces in recent months. But the conditions of this one were unusual.

One resident said there's "sadness" over the raising of the flag -- but he says residents had to do so because "nobody helped us."

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