Daraa, SANA – Al-Ghariya al-Sharqiya town in Daraa countryside joins the reconciliations, with its residents gathering at the entrance in welcome of the Syrian Arab Army to thank it for saving them from terrorism, SANA reporter said Saturday.
Meanwhile, Dael town in the northern countryside of the Province also joined the reconciliation in addition to the the areas of Tal Khleif and Tal al-Sheikh Hassan, as gunmen started to give up their weapons to the Army.
AMMAN/BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Syrian army seized more towns in the southwest on Saturday, as air strikes pounded others that still held out against the rapid offensive and rebels said they had begun negotiating peace terms through the government’s ally Russia.I'm at a loss how it is the terrorists can negotiate a deal for the return of sovereignty over the whole of Daraa- considering they are no longer in control of the whole of Daraa?
State television broadcast from the town of Dael, northwest of Deraa city, after the army entered, and a war monitor reported that several towns further east had also accepted government rule.
Rebels expected to hold another meeting on Saturday with Russian officers to negotiate a deal for the return of Syrian state sovereignty over the whole of Deraa province, an insurgent spokesman said.
Air raids continued in the meantime, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, in an offensive that the United Nations says has driven 160,000 people from their homes, threatening a humanitarian catastrophe.
Russia, the Syrian government’s strongest supporter, has backed army advances with air strikes since entering the war in 2015 and has played a role in mediating surrender deals.The US backed Kurds hold a full 1/3 of Syria- this is always downplayed.(False Equivalence)
Southwestern Syria is one of two remaining rebel strongholds, along with a region of the northwest that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has sworn to recapture. He also wants to take back control of territory in northeastern Syria held by U.S.-backed Kurdish forces.
More then was held in the southwest and vastly more then in the northwest.
It's important information to grasp to understand just how much territory Damascus needs to retake in order to retake all of Syria. Also notice that Reuters does not call that one third of Syrian territory "rebel held"- Just held by US backed Kurdish forces.
Since the 'rebels' in Daraa are also US backed why not call that US backed rebel territory?
Of course, that fact, doesn't fit the narrative presented! Terrorist bad guys/Kurdish good guys and the US on the side of the good. Phooey!
The army’s offensive follows the capitulation of rebel enclaves near Homs and Damascus, including eastern Ghouta.
Warfare in the southwest could risk a further escalation because of its proximity to Israel. The Israelis have already targeted Iran-backed militia fighting on Assad’s side, which they have vowed to keep far from their country’s borders.
The government’s offensive so far has focused on Deraa province, which borders Jordan, but not Quneitra province abutting the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
The deal being discussed does not include Quneitra, the rebels said.
Insurgent negotiators and a spokesman said a six-member civilian and military committee of the southern rebels held a preliminary meeting along the administrative borders of neighboring Sweida province.
“The committee held its first meeting with Russian officers who presented their demands,” said Ibrahim Jabawi, a spokesman of the central operations room set up by the main Free Syrian Army groups in southern Syria.
But Russian negotiators had still not arrived several hours after another meeting was due to begin on Saturday, Jabawi said.
Jordan has been facilitating talks between rebel factions and Moscow over a deal that would end the violence in exchange for the return of state rule in Deraa province on its border.
Russian negotiators have demanded rebels accept terms like those agreed for eastern Ghouta, where insurgents either left for opposition territory in the northwest along with their families or accepted the return of state rule, Jabawi said.
The southwest rebels did not accept this, and were instead proposing the return of civilian state institutions in the opposition areas and the entry of Russian military police rather than Syrian government forces.
The army has already captured large parts of the eastern zone of rebel-held territory in Deraa province in less than two weeks of fighting, however, and several more towns still held by the insurgents have reportedly agreed to settle with Assad.
On Saturday, state television said the town of al-Ghariya al-Sharqiya had accepted a “reconciliation” agreement with the government, and the national flag had been raised there.
It broadcast live from the town of Dael, where a crowd was shown chanting slogans in support of Assad and the army.
State TV said on Friday that four nearby towns had agreed to surrender their arms and accept state rule. The army had gained control over the towns of al-Harak, Ibta and Rakham, it said, and a rebel said opposition lines in one area had collapsed.
The Observatory said Russian military police had entered several other towns and villages in deals to end their rebellion against Assad.
It reported that warplanes carried out 32 air strikes overnight as the offensive continued, hitting nine towns in Deraa province. So far, about 100 civilians have been killed in air raids and shelling since June 19, it said.
Clashes escalated around Deraa city, which lies close to the border with Jordan, and where army advances could cut the insurgent territory in the southwest in two, it said.