BEIRUT (Dispatches) -- Syrian forces Wednesday entered part of a southern city retaken from holdout terrorists under a ceasefire deal brokered by Russia, official media and a war monitor said.
Daraa province and its capital of the same name, the cradle of Syria’s foreign-backed sedition, returned to government fold in 2018 under a previous Moscow-backed ceasefire.
But terrorists remained in some areas, including the southern part of the city called Daraa al-Balad.
Russian mediation efforts throughout August led to the evacuation of dozens of terrorists to Syria’s terrorist-held north, and a final ceasefire deal on Wednesday last week.
State news agency SANA said army units on Wednesday entered Daraa al-Balad.
They “hoisted the national flag and started setting up positions and combing the area towards announcing it free of terrorism”, it said.
The latest version of the surrender deal provides for Russian military police to deploy around Daraa al-Balad and the Syrian army to set up checkpoints inside.
It will also allow militants and young men who avoided mandatory military service to sign up to stay in the city.
Radio broadcaster Sham FM reported that around 900 men had already signed up to do this. Those who refuse the terms of the surrender are expected to be evacuated at a later date.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor close to Kurdish militants with sources inside Syria, said the army was expected to deploy at nine positions inside Daraa al-Balad.
It was also to inspect homes inside the former terrorist-held neighborhood and continue registering people who wished to stay.
The Observatory and “activists” from Daraa however said
dozens of terrorists were still present in a district and inside a displacement camp on the edges of Daraa al-Balad, awaiting the outcome of ongoing negotiations about their fate.
They now expect army forces to seek to fully retake other patches of the Daraa countryside that have remained outside their control since the 2018 deal.
Although bombings and assassinations had remained rife around the province since then, the escalation in Daraa al-Balad this summer has been the most violent in three years.
Back in 2018, Syrian Army troops managed to establish control over Dara’a province, which is bordered by Jordan to the south and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights to the west.
The situation in the province significantly worsened in August, when terrorists killed four soldiers and wounded eight more as they attacked state institutions and the local army.
The establishment of full government control over Dara’a is highly important because it borders the occupied Golan Heights which the occupying regime of Israel has used to treat wounded terrorists fighting against the Syrian government since 2011.
The territory’s return to Syria’s government control could sever collaboration between the Zionist regime and the terrorists and accordingly deal a blow to Tel Aviv’s plans to annex the Golan Heights.
Since 2011, Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy, leading to the emergence of Daesh and other terrorist groups in the country.
The U.S. has also been maintaining an illegal military presence on the Syrian soil, collaborating with militants against Syria’s legitimate government, stealing the country’s crude oil resources, bombing the positions of the Syrian army and anti-terror popular forces, and imposing crippling sanctions on Damascus.