Published: Wed, July 04, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Daraa rebels split over reconciliation deal with Syrian government

Daraa rebels split over reconciliation deal with Syrian government

Talks have resumed between the Syrian opposition and Russian negotiators over a peace deal in a rebel held town in southwestern Syria after Jordanian mediation, an opposition spokesman said.

Air raids continued in the meantime, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, in an offensive that the United Nations says has driven 160,000 people from their homes, threatening a humanitarian catastrophe.

Thousands of Syrians who have fled Daraa province after a government-launched offensive in mid-June have arrived at the border with Jordan and Golan Heights.

Eastern Ghouta is in that region and was taken by an assault that killed over 1,000 civilians and decimated several towns.

Deraa and Quneitra had been relatively calm for nearly a year because of a "de-escalation" agreement brokered by the U.S. and Jordan, which support the opposition, and Russian Federation, a staunch ally of the government.

"I'll talk to him about everything", Mr Trump said aboard Air Force One on his way to New Jersey.

Airstrikes pounded rebel-held areas in southwestern Syria on Thursday, killing at least 17 civilians in an underground shelter and driving thousands from their homes, as scores of displaced people protested near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, demanding worldwide protection.

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"They offered one option, to accept their humiliating demand to surrender, which was rejected", Ibrahim Jabawi, spokesman for the Free Syrian Army.

That pattern of local groups in towns and villages agreeing deals with the government independently of the main rebel factions has been repeated in locations across the southwest. The Israelis have already targeted Iran-backed militias fighting on Assad's side, which they have vowed to keep far from their country's borders.

And regime forces would take over the Nasib border crossing with Jordan as well as deploy along the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said and activists said. So far, the USA has remained silent in the face of a breach, and rebels are accusing them of making a "malicious deal" to remain silent.

At the meetings with Russian Federation, rebel negotiators sought to agree a deal for all of Deraa province to come back under government sovereignty, but without the army or police entering the area, an insurgent spokesman said.

An AFP correspondent outside Daraa city - part of which is held by rebels - said Saturday night had been quiet, with only intermittent bombing.

The chief Syrian opposition negotiator Nasr Al Hariri has decried "US silence" over the offensive and said only a "malicious deal" could explain the lack of a United States response. The Observatory says more than 100 civilians have been killed since an escalation in fighting on June 19.

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