Syrian regime bombs 'third Daraa mosque in a month'

Syrian regime bombs 'third Daraa mosque in a month'
Al-Mansour Mosque reportedly became the third to be bombed by the Syrian regime in a month as rebel attacks elsewhere in the Daraa Governorate left four regime troops dead.
3 min read
Daraa Al-Balad is under armed siege by Syria's Assad regime [Getty]

Three mosques have been targeted by Assad forces in one month in Daraa province, local media have reported, the besieged rebel-held area of southwest Syria.

The Houran Free League's Ayman Abu Nuqtah told Anadolu Agency that Daraa Al-Balad's Al-Mansour Mosque was bombed on Monday with the Doctor Ghassan Aba Zayed and Sa'd bin Abi Waqas mosques also targeted in the past month, he said.

This came as fighting erupted between rebels and regime forces, with attacks on regime checkpoints in the Daraa countryside.

The regime's SANA news agency reported that an attack by opposition fighters on army checkpoints in Daraa killed four soldiers and wounded 15.

Daraa, regarded as the birthplace of Syria's 2011 uprising and held for years by opposition forces, was returned to regime control in 2018 under a previous Moscow-backed ceasefire that had allowed rebels to stay in some areas of the province.

Since late June, the regime has imposed a crippling siege on Daraa Al-Balad, after the area's refusal to recognise the country's sham presidential election, which again returned dictator Bashar Al-Assad as leader.

Since then, fighting has continued between rebels and the regime in Daraa.

Amnesty International has said the regime "must immediately lift the siege to facilitate unfettered access for humanitarian organisations and allow the medical evacuation of the sick and injured".

Last week, rebels began evacuating Daraa Al-Balad as part of a new Russian-brokered truce agreement, but new fighting raged again in several parts of the province on Monday.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that regime forces had launched "unprecedented" artillery attacks on Daraa Al-Balad on Monday as opposition fighters tried to repel a regime offensive.

At least one civilian and one opposition fighter were killed, Observatory head Rami Abdul Rahman told AFP.

An opposition-affiliated Daraa committee on Sunday said the truce "has collapsed" because of Syrian regime violations and insistence on enforcing strict terms not recognised in the initial deal.

For its part, the Syrian regime claims violations by opposition fighters are undermining ceasefire efforts.

According to the Observatory, the original truce agreement would see around 100 rebels leave Daraa Al-Balad for northern Syria, with remaining fighters surrendering their weapons.

In exchange, the regime would end attacks and lift a siege that has seen some 40,000 people face water, power, food, and medicine shortages.

More than 50 rebels have been transferred from Daraa as part of the deal, according to the Observatory, but there was no sign on Monday that the evacuations would continue.

The United Nations said last week that the latest escalation had forced some 38,000 people to flee their homes over the past month.