DAMASCUS (Dispatches) – A ceasefire held in the city of Daraa on Monday after negotiators for terrorists and the Syrian government tried to close to a comprehensive agreement to end a three-month siege.
The tense negotiations to finalize the deal came after new government demands to deploy nine military checkpoints in Daraa, for the terrorists to hand over more weapons, and to allow government forces to search the city for wanted people.
The agreement had collapsed on Friday and the terrorists in Daraa were subjected to reprisals from Saturday night until Sunday afternoon, killing three people.
Negotiators for the terrorists called on the Syrian government and its Russian ally on Friday to transfer all residents from the besieged city to Jordan or Turkey, further escalating tensions.
The Syrian military said on Sunday that it had prepared buses for the evacuation of militants opposed to the deal to a northwestern part of Syria, which is under the control of Turkish-backed Takfiri militants.
“We insist on full army control and no return back to the state of lawlessness and chaos that prevailed,” an unnamed army spokesman told Reuters, accusing the militants of renegin g on their pledges.
According to local negotiators, several thousand former militants and their families insisted that they would only leave to Turkey and Jordan, countries seen as safe sanctuaries.
Russia has been mediating a new deal to end the recent fighting in Daraa, in which militants who reject the deal will have to leave the region.
The negotiations started late on Tuesday to prevent bloody urban warfare, a day after the two sides exchanged tit-for-tat machine gunfire.
In 2018, the Syrian army, backed by Russia and Iran, wrested control of Daraa Province, which borders Jordan and is close to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
Under a Russian-mediated deal, thousands of Western-sponsored militants handed over their heavy weapons but maintained grip on Daraa al-Balad.
Since late July, however, the militants have intensified their attacks targeting residential areas.
In response, the government forces have imposed a siege on Daraa al-Balad, but opened a corridor for civilians to leave.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-sponsored militancy since March 2011. Damascus says the Western states and their regional allies are aiding terrorist groups that are wreaking havoc in the Arab country.