Syrian rebels agree to surrender more Daraa towns to regime

Syrian rebels agree to surrender more Daraa towns to regime
Syrian rebels have agreed to handover the town of Ibta to Bashar al-Assad's regime, with other areas expected to surrender as part of a Russian ultimatum.
3 min read
29 June, 2018
Syrian state media have reported a number of new opposition towns surrendering [Getty]

Syrian rebels have agreed to surrender a number of opposition towns in the south of the country, following a Russian-brokered agreement that will see the regime take control of parts of Daraa province.

State media TV showed rebels in the Daraa town of Ibta appearing to surrender their weapons and waving Syrian and Russian flags in an apparent sign of capitulation to Moscow's demands.

Shortly after, Syrian state media showed Syrian regime fighters enter the town.

Other towns in the province have also agreed to the Russian demands to surrender to Bashar al-Assad's forces or face further bombing.

Rebel areas of Daraa have been subject to days of punishing Russian and Syrian regime air raids, killing dozens of civlians and displacing over 110,000 civilians.

The Syrian regime now control the town of Harak, after rebels pulled out of town. State media reported that other surrounding villages had fallen. 

Dael is also said to be ready to surrender to Assad, although these reports are yet to be confirmed.

It followed a Russian ultimatum to Syrian rebels late Thursday in Daraa to surrender or face further bombing.

Pro-regime al-Masdar website claimed the the rebels contacted the Russian-run Reconciliation Center to propose a truce.

Moscow demanded the handover of heavy and medium weaponry to Russia, while fighters will be forced to join local regime police units if they want to remain in their homes.

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Those who don't agree to the proposal will have to join the thousands of other fighters and civilians who have left their homes in opposition areas in northern Syria.

This echoed similar so-called "evacuation deals" brokered by Russia and rebels in Eastern Ghouta and other areas, when rebels and civilians were sent to opposition areas in Aleppo and Idlib.

Details of the agreement were shared on social media, and said to have been agreed between the government and "people" or "families" of the Daraa opposition towns of Ibta and Dael.

The regime demanded the handover of arms by rebels in the towns and surrender of people wanted by the government or required to serve in the military.

Those who left Syria "illegally" would also be allowed to re-enter the country with no repercussions, as part of the agreement.

Residents would also be required to expel alleged "al-Nusra" fighters - the name used by the regime for Fatah al-Sham rebel group - from the towns and close their "headquarters".

A hospital in the town would also be changed to a "health centre" with the regime taking over services at the clinic.

Damascus would provide medical ID cards to the doctors and nurses who volunteer to work in the centre, and the regime would be committed to not shell the medical facility.

The regime must also allow farmers to tend to their lands in the area and the government must provide agricultural support.

The Syrian regime launched a brutal offensive on Daraa on 19 June, with Russian air raids intensifying in recent days.

Daraa was covered by truce sponsored by Russia, the US and Jordan, although Washington has stated it will not take action to enforce the ceasefire despite earlier promises.