Assad’s Forces Surround Daraa City
Syrian regime forces have surrounded Daraa city following their takeover of Um al-Mayathin town in the east of the governorate and the Air Defence base area in the west.
A spokesman for the opposition’s “Bunyan al-Marsous” operations room, Abu Shima, said to Enab Baladi that Assad’s forces and allied militias had succeeded in taking over Um a-Mayathin, saying that this was a violation of the agreement concluded between opposition factions and the Russian military.
The Syrian government’s SANA news agency cited a military source as saying that regime troops had advanced toward and taken over al-Mayathin as well as taking over al-Naima town and the Katibat al-Radar area on the eastern front of Daraa city.
Abu Shima added that the terms of the agreement with the Russian side had not been implemented. This included the Syrian regime sending in 100 buses to transport those who desired to northern Syria.
Sources from Daraa told Enab Baladi that Assad’s forces had taken control of the military highway between the eastern and western parts of Daraa Governorate, extending to the Kharab al-Shaham area.
The Russian network Sputnik quoted the Russian Defence Ministry as saying that most of the leadership of rebel factions in the governorate had been integrated into the Syrian regime, hours after the announcement that an agreement had been reached.
The Ministry’s statement said that “the process of settling the conflict between Syrian government forces and representatives of the opposition is now coming to an end”. It added that “negotiations have had a successful outcome, with most of the leadership of rebel factions in Daraa giving up armed resistance and moving to the side of the Syrian government”.
The transporting of opposition militants who do not wish to reconcile with the regime from Daraa to northern Syria has been postponed due to the Syrian government’s violating of the deal brokered by the Russian military.
Enab Baladi’s correspondent in Daraa said that Assad’s forces had broken the agreement in place by attacking the plains surrounding Daraa city on the morning of 8 July, including with strikes on the al-Nakhla and al-Shiyah areas as well as against the eastern town of al-Mayathin. These attacks led to the killing of a child and a women and the injuring of several other people, including serious injuries.
Current developments come two days after a deal was reached for the surrender of eastern Daraa Governorate to regime forces and Russian military police, and the exit of those who did not accept a deal to northern Syria.
According to well-informed sources, the first term of the agreement is a comprehensive ceasefire in Daraa Governorate and the entry of Syrian government forces to the Nassib border crossing area.
Sources also said that the agreement was due to be implemented in three stages – firstly, the withdrawal of rebels from the Nassib area; secondly, the entry of Assad’s forces from Nassib to the Kharab al-Shaham area; and thirdly, regime forces entering the Yarmouk Basin area from Kharab al-Shaham.
Among the terms of the agreement is the return of displaced people to the towns and villages which they had left. In addition, a joint administration of the Nassib crossing is to be established under Russian supervision, though only the Syrian government flag will be raised over the crossing.
The agreement also includes reconciliation for defectors and those wanted by security forces during a time period which remains to be specified. Regime forces are to be deployed in positions occupied prior to 2011, in accordance with the UN’s plan for the separation of military forces in the Golan Heights.
The agreement specifies the gradual handing over of light and heavy weaponry by rebels, with the whole of Daraa Governorate being subject to Syrian government administration alongside participation by some reconciled militants.