Channels

Syria's flag in Deraa city
Syrian rebels lose string of southwest towns
Rebels say meetings with Russian negotiators to seek peace terms for Deraa province fail, leading a string of rebel-held towns to accept government rule; battles continue around Deraa city.
A string of Syrian rebel-held towns and villages accepted government rule on Saturday as insurgent lines collapsed in parts of the southwest under an intense bombardment that the United Nations says has forced 160,000 people to flee.

 

 

The southwest was an early hotbed of the uprising against President Bashar Assad and defeat there would leave rebels with just one remaining stronghold -- the area around Idlib province bordering Turkey in the northwest.

 

Rebels met Russian negotiators on Saturday to seek peace terms for Deraa province, where most of their southwest territory is located, but said these failed. Moscow is Assad's strongest ally and its air power since 2015 has been crucial to his recapture of vast swathes of Syria.

  

Southwest Syria's rebels on the brink of backing down
Southwest Syria's rebels on the brink of backing down

  

Local groups in many towns seized by the army in recent days had negotiated their own surrender deals independently of the main rebel operations rooms after heavy air raids.

 

State television broadcast footage from inside the towns of Dael and al-Ghariya al-Gharbiya, where people were shown chanting pro-Assad slogans. A war monitor and a military media unit run by the government's ally Hezbollah said numerous other towns and villages had agreed to come back under Assad's rule.

 

Fierce battles were still roiling the area around Deraa city, near the Jordanian border, where the army was trying to capture a disused air base, rebels said, and the northwestern chunk of Deraa province remains in opposition hands.

 

Air raids continued in the meantime, said the monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, as displaced people flocked to the border areas least likely to be hit and the United Nations warned about a humanitarian catastrophe.

  

160,000 refugees have been driven from their homes   (Photo: Reuters)
160,000 refugees have been driven from their homes (Photo: Reuters)

 

After the peace talks failed on Saturday, warplanes launched a new wave of strikes on the rebel-held towns of Bosra al-Sham, al-Nuaima and other areas, the Observatory reported, causing deaths, injuries and damage.

   

The army's offensive follows the capitulation of rebel enclaves near Homs and Damascus, including eastern Ghouta, which was recaptured after a scorched-earth assault that killed over a thousand civilians and laid waste to several towns.

 

Warfare in the southwest could risk a further escalation because of its proximity to Israel. The Israelis have already targeted Iran-backed militias fighting on Assad's side, which they have vowed to keep far from their country's borders.

 

The government's offensive so far has focused on Deraa province, which borders Jordan, but not Quneitra province abutting the Israeli Golan Heights.

 

The entire southwest is part of a "de-escalation zone" agreed last year by Russia, the United States and Jordan. Despite Washington's threats that it would respond to breaches of that arrangement, it has shown no sign of doing so, and the opposition's top negotiator on Thursday accused it of having struck a "malicious deal" to stay silent.

 

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot held a series of talks with his American counterpart Joseph Dunford in Washington about the upcoming developments in Syria and their ramification on the Syrian Golan Heights.

 

Israel's objective is to prevent the battles taking place in Syria from spilling into its territory during Assad's next move in the Syrian Golan after finishing reclaiming the Deraa province.

 

It is possible, however, that Assad's move to recapture the last rebel-held strongholds will be done with Israel's quiet consent with a Russian and American patronage.

  

Joseph Dunford (L) and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot meet in Washington
Joseph Dunford (L) and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot meet in Washington
 

 

The IDF delivered about 60 tons of humanitarian aid to the Syrian Golan Heights on Thursday night.

 

During the special overnight operation, some 300 tents, 13 tons of food, 15 tons of baby food, three pallets of medical equipment and medicine and some 30 tons of clothes and shoes were transferred into Syria from four different spots on the border.

  

The entire southwest is part of a "de-escalation zone" agreed last year by Russia, the United States and Jordan. Despite Washington's threats that it would respond to breaches of that arrangement, it has shown no sign of doing so, and the opposition's top negotiator on Thursday accused it of having struck a "malicious deal" to stay silent.

 

Negotiations

Insurgent negotiators had held meetings with Russia to try to agree a deal for all of Deraa province to come back under government sovereignty, but without the army or police entering the area.

 

The talks in the town of Bosra al-Sham, whose Roman citadel is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, collapsed on Saturday, however, as the insurgents rejected Russia's proposed terms for their surrender, a rebel spokesman said.

 

Jordan has been facilitating talks between rebel factions and Moscow over a deal that would end the violence in exchange for the return of state rule in Deraa province on its border.

  

Assad's army approaches the Deraa province

Assad's army approaches the Deraa province

סגורסגור

שליחה לחבר

 הקלידו את הקוד המוצג
תמונה חדשה

שלח
הסרטון נשלח לחברך

סגורסגור

הטמעת הסרטון באתר שלך

 קוד להטמעה:

 

Russian negotiators have demanded rebels accept terms like those agreed for eastern Ghouta, where insurgents either left for opposition territory in the northwest along with their families or accepted the return of state rule, Jabawi said. The southwest rebels did not accept this, and were instead proposing the return of civilian state institutions in the opposition areas and the entry of Russian military police rather than Syrian government forces.

 

The army has already captured large parts of the eastern zone of rebel-held territory in Deraa province less than two weeks into its offensive, however.

 

In eastern parts of Deraa, the army took control of al-Ghariya al-Sharqiya and al-Ghariya al-Gharbiya and Um Walad, after taking al-Harak, Busra al-Harir and surrounding areas in recent days.

  

Rebel-held area in the brink of backing down    (רויטרס)

Rebel-held area in the brink of backing down

סגורסגור

שליחה לחבר

 הקלידו את הקוד המוצג
תמונה חדשה

שלח
הסרטון נשלח לחברך

סגורסגור

הטמעת הסרטון באתר שלך

 קוד להטמעה:

 

In western parts of Deraa, the army has regained control over the towns of Dael and Ibta. There were contradictory reports over whether it had also gained the areas of al-Musayfra and Kuheil in eastern Deraa, and Tafas, al-Muzairib and Sheikh Saad in western Deraa.

 

The Observatory reported that warplanes carried out 32 air strikes overnight as the offensive continued, hitting nine towns in Deraa province. So far, about 100 civilians have been killed in air raids and shelling since June 19, it said.

  

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah (Photo: EPA)
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah (Photo: EPA)

 

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah addressed the battles in the Daraa province on Friday, saying “we are headed to an important change and a major victory in southern Syria against all the armed militias which are supported by the United States and are receiving aid from Israel.”

 

He also criticized US President Donald Trump’s immigration policy, saying that “separating immigrants’ children from their parents shows Trump’s real face as a cruel and unrestrained monster.”

 


פרסום ראשון: 06.30.18, 16:11
 new comment
See all talkbacks "Syrian rebels lose string of southwest towns"
Warning:
This will delete your current comment