Syrian rebels reach deal with Russian Federation for weapons handover

Pauline Gross
July 8, 2018

Israel has informed Moscow and Washington that it agrees to the Syrian regime deploying troops in Golan along its borders on certain conditions, most notably that no Iran-backed militias are present, including Hizbullah.

Weakened by a crushing government offensive backed by Russian Federation and abandoned by their US allies, rebels in southern Syria found themselves compelled to accept yet another humiliating surrender deal that would see opposition fighters transported by buses to areas held by rebels in the country's north.

Though Jordan was an important sponsor of rebels in the south, analysts said this support was always aimed primarily at safeguarding its border from security threats such as Islamic State militants, not toppling Assad.

He said "over 28,000 displaced people" had returned to 13 villages and other locations.

The Syrian Negotiations Commission said Russia, Damascus' most significant ally, refused to let Syrian forces and Iranian fighters withdraw from captured areas to aid evacuations.

Six civilians, including a woman and four children, were killed in strikes on the town of Saida. "Our fighters are present in limited numbers to intervene when needed but so far the Syrian army has been carrying out the mission".

Ibrahim Jabbawi, a spokesman for the rebels' Central Command in southern Syria, said the organization's leaders had agreed with Russian military officers on a gradual handover of their weapons and the deployment of Russian military police near the border in Daraa.

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Pro-regime forces have moved in to a number of rebel areas in recent days, doubling their territory in Daraa governorate to around 60 percent after rebel groups agreed to the Russian offer in exchange for an end to the aerial bombardment.

Under the accord, rebels are expected to hand over their heavy weapons, while those who reject the agreement will be bussed with their families to opposition-held areas in the north of the country, state media has said.

The onslaught has reportedly forced tens of thousands of civilians to flee to areas near Syria's border with Jordan.

Syrian troops on Friday established full control over a string of villages in Dara'a in a bid to reopen the strategic Nasib border crossing.

Jordan and Israel are cautiously watching the developments, as the Syrian army inches closer to their borders.

But rebels still hold Deraa's western countryside, the southern half of the divided provincial capital, and the prized Nassib border crossing.

The government's advances in Deraa in a two-week offensive had brought large parts of the province back under state control and caused a massive rapid human exodus as hundreds of thousands of people fled.

Other reports by GizPress

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