Free Syrian Army and Russia reach final agreement on Daraa

Writing Mais Noor Aldeen | Editing Hasan Borhan | Translation Glory Jabr | Translation Editing Vera Halvorsen 🕔 Publication Date: July 6, 2018, 3:43:15 PM wire MILITARY Negotiation

Daraa - SMART

On Friday, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions in Daraa, Southern Syria, reached a final agreement with Russia. The agreement will be applied in the entire Daraa governorate, except its northwestern countryside, and includes a ceasefire and FSA fighters handing over their heavy weapons. The agreement also includes that the fighters who refuse to sign it will be displaced to Northern Syria.

The spokesman for the Central Operations Room, Brigadier Ibrahim al-Jabbawi, told SMART that the agreement included a ceasefire in the area and compelled the FSA fighters to hand over their heavy weapons gradually to the Syrian government forces. In return, the Syrian government forces will withdraw from the towns of al-Giza and al-Masifra and the villages al-Sahwa and al-Kahel for the return of their citizens, guaranteed by Russia.

The agreement also included handing over the entire border with Jordan and the management of the Naseeb crossing and a military road that functions as the only artery linking the eastern and western countrysides of Daraa with each other and the as-Suwayda governorate as well as the bases of the loyalist forces and Russian forces. In addition, the agreement included handing over points of contact with the Khalid ibn al-Walid Army, west of Daraa.

Al-Jabbawi explained that the local administrations of the towns and villages will be controlled by the Syrian government and the rest will be controlled by the Fifth Corps, formed by Russia, because foreign militias are not allowed to enter Daraa.

The agreement also included that the fighters and people who refuse to sign will be displaced to Idlib, Northern Syria.

The agreement also included a reconciliation between those wanted by the Syrian government forces, giving dissidents a time limit to return to the government forces. The agreement also requires the re-activating of local Syrian government institutions, raising of its flag and return of its staff.

Al-Jabbawi said that the factions that signed the agreement are the Sunnah Youth Forces, led by Ahmed al-Awda, in their controlled-areas extending from the border of the governorate of as-Suwayda to the Naseeb crossing; the Operations Room of the Bunian Marsus factions in their areas extending from the Naseeb crossing to the village of Khrab al-Shahem, and the Revolution Army in its areas from Khrab al-Shahem to the city of Nawa.

However, the factions that control the northwest of Daraa extending from Nawa to the "Death Triangle" and the Golan Heights have not signed the agreement.

Al-Jabbawi commented that the Daraa agreement is not different from the Ghouta and Northern Homs agreements. Al-Jabbawi added, "In every round of negotiations, the Russians threatened the factions with intense airstrikes if they refused to sign (...) the operation was intimidation."

On Wednesday last week, a round of negotiations between the FSA and Russia ended without results, due to "points of contention" on the handover of heavy weapons. Negotiations came more than two weeks after the beginning of the shelling on Daraa, amid the Syrian government's attempts to advance on the ground, killing and wounding dozens of civilians and displacing hundreds of thousands.

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Writing Mais Noor Aldeen | Editing Hasan Borhan | Translation Glory Jabr | Translation Editing Vera Halvorsen 🕔 Publication Date: July 6, 2018, 3:43:15 PM wire MILITARY Negotiation
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