Syria regime, rebels reach deal on south: state media

Smoke rises in Deraa area Syria in this handout released

Syria, Russia resume airstrikes after cease-fire fails

South Syrian rebels said on Friday they had agreed to cease fire and start handing over heavy weapons in a deal mediated by Russian Federation that will restore state sovereignty over areas they hold in Deraa province after a fierce government offensive.

A commander in the pro-Assad alliance said the army and its allies had seized a string of villages and reached the border.

"The Russian deal is similar to the others in areas of Aleppo or Ghouta".

The fighting and air strikes have already driven more than a quarter of million people in southwest Syria from their homes, the United Nations said on Monday, seeking shelter along the frontiers with Jordan and Israel.

Jordanian residents of Jabir village watch aid deliveries to Syrians fleeing government offensive in the south as smoke from unknown fire rises, July 3, 2018.

Near the start of the government's offensive, Washington indicated it would respond to violations of that deal, but it has not done so yet and rebels said it told them to expect no American military help. The Norwegian Refugee Council has called this the largest displacement of Syria's seven-year war.

The Observatory said an armed group that had controlled some border villages had handed over control to the advancing government forces without putting up resistance.

It echoes the terms of previous opposition surrenders, but according to rebel sources, they also secured a concession that some government forces would withdraw from the area.

The negotiations collapsed on Wednesday, with rebels blaming Russian Federation, ushering in a day-long volley of air strikes, barrel bombs, and missiles that ultimately pressured rebels to return to the table.

Um, Did Meghan Markle Adopt a British Accent?
Since all three were absent from this reception, Meghan chose to wear a more vivid shade than her usual pastels and whites.

In an interview with Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV, an opposition negotiator, Khaled Mouhameed, claimed that Jordan would resume efforts to broker a cease-fire with the rebel commanders on Friday.

Hussein Abazeed, spokesman for the south's joint rebel command, accused Russian Federation of pursuing a "scorched-earth policy" to force rebels back to the negotiating table.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's goal is to recapture Syria's entire southwest, one of the last rebel strongholds in the country.

Southwest Syria was declared a de-escalation zone past year by Russia, Jordan and the United States.

Regime forces took control of a key route running along the border with Jordan, up to the Nassib border crossing, as part of Friday's agreement.

The deal, mediated by Russian Federation, will restore state sovereignty over rebel-held areas in Daraa province following a fierce government offensive.

Fighters who reject the agreement will be evacuated with their families to the rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib, it added.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 159 civilians had been killed since the offensive began two weeks ago, including 33 children.

On Thursday, the United Nations Security Council convened in an urgent closed-door meeting to discuss the south, but Russian Federation blocked the council from adopting a statement.

Latest News