Syrian regime to fight in Daraa despite US warning

Syrian regime to fight in Daraa despite US warning
A Damascus-run newspaper said the regime would launch a southern offensive in Daraa despite Washington's warning on Friday.
2 min read
Syrian regime tank during offensive in southern Damascus [Getty]

Damascus will fight rebels - or "terrorists" as the regime labels opposition fighters - in Daraa despite Washington's warning that it would take "firm and appropriate" measures against a new offensive in the province, a state-run newspaper said on Monday.

The news is an apparent reversal from Syrian Charge d'Affairs to Jordan Ayman Alloush's remarks on Saturday, in which he said Damascus "does not need a military operation in the south".

The editorial appeared in the Al-Baath daily and said the US threat underscores the "dirty American role in the terrorist war" against Syria.

A Russian-sponsored agreement last year established de-escalation zones under which Daraa falls. The agreement stipulated freezing lines of conflict in those areas.

However, regime forces dropped hundreds of leaflets on rebel-held Daraa, which is considered "the cradle of the Syrian revolution". The pamphlets warned of an imminent offensive and urged anti-Assad fighters to disarm.

On Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that regime forces fresh from their victory against the Islamic State in Damascus began moving into the southwestern province.

Most observers say the regime is emboldened after securing a number of major military wins. It has recaptured all of Damascus and surrounding suburbs for the first time since the civil war began in 2011.

Rebels still control stretches of territory in Syria's northwest and southwest regions. Kurdish forces that are backed by the US hold the quarter of Syria east of the Euphrates River.

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