Syrian Army Controls Nuaima Town, Continues anti-terror Operation in Daraa Countryside
Jul 08 2018
Friday's reported takeover comes after rebels announced reaching a deal with Russian Federation, an ally of the Syrian government, aimed at ending a devastating government campaign in the province of Daraa in southern Syria. The offensive has displaced around 3,20,000 people since June 19, the United Nations says.
The government forces have taken over the Nassib border crossing and raised the Syrian flag there, according to the Syrian state media and outlets affiliated with Hezbollah, another regime ally.
There was no immediate comment from Jordan on the Syrian forces' recapture of Naseeb crossing.
According to the rebels, Moscow had previously rejected their demands for a phased surrender of their heavy weaponry and safe passage to opposition territory elsewhere for rebels and civilians who did not want to live under government rule.
"Cars carrying Russian military police and representatives of the Syrian government's border administration entered the Naseeb crossing without a fight", observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said. This too is expected to take some time.
The rebels will surrender their heavy weapons in exchange for the partial withdrawal of government forces from the area, the observatory added.
Ibrahim Jabawi said the agreement reached during ongoing talks in a town in southern Syria also includes a cessation of hostilities by both sides.
The onslaught has reportedly forced tens of thousands of civilian residents to flee to areas near Syria's border with Jordan.
The battles in southern Syria are critical because the area controls the gateway to the occupied Syrian Golan Heights along the Israeli border and thus pose a threat to Israel.
"All of this is not the result of Israeli-US comfort at the role Iran is playing in Syria, or that Iranian troops are far from the Golan border, but is due to Tehran and Al-Assad taking a back seat in Russian-Israeli relations".
Instead, Russian military police will be deployed along the border with Jordan, securing the towns and villages covered by the deal.
The Observatory said regime forces had moved closer to Nassib on Friday.
Around 159 civilians have been killed by clashes in Daraa since the start of the government offensive, the SOHR said. "We must verify and do everything to clarify, vis-a-vis the Russians, the Assad government, that we will not accept any armed presence by the Assad regime in the areas which are meant to be demilitarized", Gilad Erdan, a minister in Netanyahu's security cabinet, told the Israeli news site Ynet.
Rebel territory in the south was included in a ceasefire brokered a year ago by Russian Federation, the United States, and Jordan, but that has done little to stem the violence.