Syria: Sana, rebels surrender in Daraa after ceasefire

Russian military vehicles enter southern capital

01 September, 16:56

    BEIRUT - The Syrian government confirmed on Wednesday that local armed groups in Daraa, the southern capital at the border with Jordan, began handing over their weapons and surrendering after a ceasefire was reached with mediation by Russia, which has maintained troops in Syria since 2015.
    Syrian government news agency Sana widely publicised the news, which is not independently verifiable on the ground, of the rebels' surrender.
    At the same time, local media in Daraa reported that Russian military vehicles had entered the city.
    Russia, which has a military presence in the area and supports the central Syrian government, worked throughout August on a delicate mediation between the parties, after Moscow in 2018 managed to conduct negotiations for the surrender of the Daraa area to government forces.
    The 2018 agreement provided for a gradual demilitarisation of local armed groups, which for six years had de facto controlled the area of southern Syria in the context of the popular revolt that broke out in 2011 and quickly turned into a regional war.
    From the beginning of July, government forces had carried out a military assault on the Daraa area that was in the hands of local forces, pushing about 40,000 civilians into desperate health and food conditions.
    The UN said in mid-August that it was very concerned over the situation of civilians in Daraa.
    East of the city, there are armed groups co-opted by Iran and rivals of the Russian-controlled forces.
    On Wednesday, local sources in Daraa said pro-Iranian militias attacked military positions from the east, despite the ceasefire reached by Russia.

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