Syria rebels say close to deal with Russian Federation on south
Jul 08, 2018, 06:31
After a two-week Syrian government offensive, rebels have agreed to a negotiated surrender in the southern Daraa province near Jordan, opposition and state media confirmed.
The Russia-backed government offensive in Daraa has displaced more than 320,000 people since 19 June, according to the United Nations, including tens of thousands who fled south to the sealed border with Jordan.
Several witnesses along the Jordan border fence with Syria said they people saw a convoy of more than a hundred armoured vehicles and tanks with Russian and Syrian state flags, along with hundreds of troops near Nassib.
All areas along the Syrian-Jordanian border will be under the direct control of Syrian government forces, SANA reported.
According to the rebels, Moscow had previously rejected their demands for a phased surrender of their heavy weaponry and safe passage to opposition territory elsewhere for rebels and civilians who did not want to live under government rule.
Ayman Safadi, Jordan's foreign minister, said in a tweet on Friday that the return of the tens of thousands of displaced Syrians in southern Syria is the kingdom's top priority and he had discussed "practical guarantees" with concerned parties. This too is expected to take some time.
Rebel territory in southern Syria was already included in a ceasefire agreed a year ago between Washington, Amman, and Moscow, but that did little to halt the regime's attack.
The operations ended up with eliminating a number of terrorists and destroying their hotbeds and weapons while the others fled towards the Jordanian border where the army units continue to pursue them and target them with appropriate weapons.
"Daraa is hugely symbolic for Assad because it is the cradle of the Syrian revolution, and Nassib allows the Assad government to get the Jordanians invested in a return of the regime in the southwest through the benefits to Jordan from reopened trade with Syria", Heras told AFP.
Syrian government forces now control all the towns and villages on the eastern side of Daraa province, including the villages of Nuaima and Saida, which sits 10 kilometres ahead of the Naseeb crossing and links the eastern and western sides of Daraa.
The UN has called on Jordan to open its border.
After securing areas around the capital this year, President Bashar Al Assad last month turned to the south, launching a bombing campaign on rebel areas on June 19.
He said he was angry at Jordan for keeping its border closed "and watching us dying".
According to the ministry' daily bulletin, three ceasefire violations have been registered in Syria over the last 24 hours by Russian Federation, a guarantor of a nationwide Syrian ceasefire regime that came into force on December 30, 2016.
The reporter said that the army units started securing Daraa worldwide highway towards Naseeb border by combing the highway's both sides and removing the barriers set up by terrorist groups.
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