Syria: Damascus forces enter Daraa after militias surrender

Assault finished, result of Russia-mediated accord in August

09 September, 18:10

    (ANSAmed) - BEIRUT, SEPT 9 - Syrian government forces on Thursday entered Daraa, the capital of the eponymous southern Syrian region on the border with Jordan that since the end of July has been the site of an intense government military siege against local militia who had controlled some neighborhoods of the city for years.

    The Syrian government news agency Sana reported that checkpoints were set up in the city, which in 2011 was the epicentre of massive and unprecedented popular anti-regime protests that triggered government repression and the resulting internal and regional war.

    The entrance of Damascus troops into the rebel districts of Daraa is the result of a long and delicate Russian mediation that took place for the entire month of August between government forces and local forces in Daraa.

    The forces are partly supported by the Russian military forces themselves deployed in Syria; partly supported by Iran, an area rival of Russia itself; and partly aligned with the armed opposition, which was defeated in 2018 after the Russian military and government campaign.

    An agreement was announced Monday between the parties after a ceasefire accord.

    The agreement requires local militias to hand over their weapons and surrender to government forces, and foresees government checkpoints set up in the city under the supervision of the Russian military police.

    Daraa fighters who do not intend to surrender or are wanted by the government and risk being tortured in prison are forced to be deported to northwestern Syria, to the Idlib region under Turkish control, where Russia and the Syrian government have for years amassed those defined as "terrorists".

    The Syrian government has pledged to lift the siege against Daraa which, according to the UN, has exacerbated the already precarious humanitarian conditions of tens of thousands of civilians in the area.

    Local humanitarian organisations have denounced abuses and indiscriminate arrests of civil society activists and fighters from Daraa.(ANSAmed).

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