On Thursday, representatives of Jaysh al-Islam militant group and Russian officials reached a new ceasefire agreement in Egypt’s capital Cairo, according to Reuters.
The new agreement covers several districts south of the Syrian capital of Damascus including Babbila, Beit Sahm, Yalda and Aqrba.
“We announced a preliminary agreement over the will to enter into a ceasefire and de-escalation deal for the area,” Jaysh al-Islam political leader Mohammad Alloush said according to Reuters.
The Syrian opposition was not only represented by Jaysh al-Islam but also by Aknaf Bait al-Maqdis and Jaysh al-Ababel groups. Moreover, Egypt was the side that announced the agreement, unlike previous agreements that were also reached in Cairo. This could mean that Egypt played a bigger role in the new development.
Egypt’s state information service announced that the Palestinian Fatah and Hamas organizations agreed to form a national unity government. The agreement was also reached in Cairo.
According to the source, the new government will work in Gaza and West Bank. The new national unity government will also be operated by the presidential guard of Palestinian president and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas.
The national unity government will be responsible for the Rafah border crossing in Gaza according to the Egyptian sources. This can be considered a major gain for Egypt that has been suffering from arms trafficking through the border with Gaza that is controlled by Hamas.
Egypt likely played a notable role in the Fatah-Hamas agreement. Over the past year, Egypt been has been pressuring Hamas to cooperate with Fateh again. Previously, the rise of the extremist wing in Hamas didn’t only threaten Egypt’s nation security but also Hamas itself that lost many its allies.
However, Israel is not happy to see the Palestinian reconciliation.
There is nothing we want more than peace with all our neighbors.
Reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas makes peace much harder to achieve.
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) 12 October 2017
The two agreements reflect the growing Egyptian influence in the Middle East after it almost completely collapsed during the Muslim Brotherhood era. During the few years of Muslim Brotherhood role, Egypt turned into a country that worked for the interests of other countries, mainly Qatar. Egypt’s former president Mohamed Morsi was even charged with spying for Qatar in 2017. The 2013 Egyptian coup d’état for sure helped Egypt to stand again as a major player in the region, Bringing more balance to it.