Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Syria rebels say close to deal with Russian Federation on south

Syria rebels say close to deal with Russian Federation on south

Syrian-Palestinian analyst Mustafa Al-Walie told Al-Ahram Weekly that "it is significant when Israel exonerates Iran of deploying in southern Syria and denies Iranian militias are blended with Al-Assad's forces, and then the U.S. suddenly annuls its commitment to de-escalation and abandons the opposition factions and Jordan closes the border to refugees".

On Friday afternoon, Syrian rebels confirmed that a deal was reached with Russian and Jordanian negotiators to end the offensive in Daraa Province, and bring the region back under de facto government control.

The Syrian government recovered the crucial Nassib border crossing with Jordan, held by rebels for three years, state media reported, after a fierce assault in insurgent territory along the frontier backed by Russian air strikes.

Daraa is considered the cradle of the 2011 uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that triggered Syria's devastating civil war.

It also underscores America's remarkable declining role and influence in Syria. Although the US government negotiated a de-escalation agreement for southern Syria previous year, it has remained silent as Assad's forces marched onto Daraa in the past two weeks in a crushing assault that displaced more than 330,000 people.

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Reuters Television footage showed a long convoy of tanks and vehicles, carrying hundreds of forces and Syrian state flags, that appeared to be heading for western Deraa province, where insurgents still hold several towns.

Eisenkot stressed that Israel would not allow the presence of Iranian militias of any type on its borders, and Dunford concurred.

The United Nations Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said recently that the total number of the displaced people in Daraa reached more than 320,000, with 60,000 gathered at the border crossing with Jordan.

Almost 60,000 people have gathered near the Jordan border and thousands more are seeking shelter at the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Dozens have been killed.

Rebels seized control of the crossing in 2015, cutting a major lifeline for Syrian exports and disrupting a major trade route between Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and oil-rich gulf countries.

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Syrian regime forces are seen in Nassib border crossing with Jordan in Deraa on Friday.

Amman has played a leading role in getting Syrian rebels to agree to terms of surrender that include stationing of Russian military police in the south. Rebels hope the Russians will guarantee the safety of civilians from state retribution.

The negotiating parties also agreed on regulating the status of militants, resumption of work of the Syrian authorities in the settlements, ensuring the return of refugees from the border with Jordan to their homes.

These concessions will potentially allow tens of thousands of displaced Syrians along the Jordanian border to return to their homes as many now fear being targeted by government forces.

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