Report: ISIS, Syrian rebels reach ceasefire

 

A group that has monitored Syria's civil war reported Saturday that moderate Syrian rebels and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had reportedly struck a cease-fire deal.

But an official with the Syrian National Coalition, which consists of groups opposed to that country's government, disputed those accounts on Saturday, saying there was no cease-fire.

The initial report from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group based in the United Kingdom, said the groups reached the agreement in a suburb of Damascus, Syria’s capital.

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Under the deal, "the two parties will respect a truce until a final solution is found and they promise not to attack each other because they consider the principal enemy to be the Nussayri regime,” Agence France-Presse reported.

Nussayri is a negative term for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite regime.

The AFP report said the groups agreed to a non-aggression pact in which they promised not to attack each other.

But the official with the Syrian National Coalition told The Hill that "not a single" U.S.-vetted rebel group has entered into a truce with ISIS. 

The report came as House lawmakers mull over the option to provide Obama with the authorization to train and arm the Syrian rebels. A vote on a short-term spending bill was delayed this week after the White House asked House Republicans to attach the authorization to the bill.

It’s possible GOP leaders might decide to hold a separate vote on the authorization to equip the rebels.  

Some Republicans and Democrats have long called on the administration to arm the rebels, but other lawmakers in both parties are afraid the weapons could wind up in the wrong hands. 

A spokesman for the family of slain journalist Steven Sotloff told CNN this week that Sotloff was captured by “so-called moderate rebels” in Syria and was sold to ISIS.

ISIS militants released videos in the last month showing them beheading Sotloff and U.S. journalist James Foley. 

This story was updated on Sept. 16 at 12:08 p.m.