Syria: Assad attacks the former opposition stronghold with missiles and artillery | Syria

Bashar al-Assad He attacked a former opposition stronghold with rockets and artillery in an attempt to crush a raging rebellion, in an unprecedented development in the Syria A decade-long war.

Daraa al-Balad and its environs Daraa A city in the southern province of the same name, it was targeted with heavy weapons in conjunction with a ground push on three axes from two divisions of the Syrian army and its allies. IranThe militias it supports in the early hours of Thursday morning, in a major attack that continued throughout the day.

In response to the bombing, opposition militants launched counter-attacks in the countryside of Daraa, killing at least eight fighters loyal to the regime, and arresting dozens of fighters at several military sites and checkpoints, according to local sources.

At least four civilians were killed in the bombed areas, according to residents, and large numbers of people began trying to flee. There are no medical facilities in the targeted areas.

Violence is the worst fighting to hit Daraa – the birthplace of Syria in 2011 Arab Spring uprising Against the regime – since the region’s “reconciliation” with Damascus in a Russian-brokered deal three years ago.

“We woke up to the attacks at seven in the morning. We are under a complete siege..there is random artillery and mortars..everything.” Civilians repelled the ground attack to prevent tanks and soldiers from entering the town, but we have no real armed resistance No water, no electricity and no food.”

Unlike other opposition areas that Assad recaptured with the help of his allies in Moscow and Tehran in the July 2018 surrender agreement, the majority of Daraa’s residents stayed at home rather than being bussed. Idlib Provinceon the Turkish border. Instead, Moscow oversaw the recruitment of Deraa rebels into a new local security force known as the Fifth Corps, created to aid the exhausted Syrian army in the battle against the Islamic State.

Since the expulsion of ISIS from southern Syria, An unstable current situation has emerged: The 5th Division receives salaries from Moscow and is supposed to follow Russian orders, but manages to retain a degree of autonomy, preventing the army and secret police from entering areas under their control, harboring wanted by the regime, and protecting. Big protests in the streets against the government’s dealings with Syria’s faltering economy.

Since then, bombings and mutual assassinations between former opposition figures and regime forces have become routine. But taking into account the possibility of a military escalation if Iran and Hizb allah Troops had to be fully included near IsraelRussia has largely thwarted the regime’s attempts to stamp out the budding insurgency.

The situation in Daraa deteriorated sharply when the locals decided to boycott Mayo rigged general electionsAssad returned for another seven years in power with 95% of the vote. Regime soldiers began blocking roads and cutting off water and electricity supplies to neighborhoods of about 50,000 people, which led to food and medicine shortages.

Several negotiating attempts between a government security committee and tribal representatives from Daraa al-Balad, which focused on giving up light weapons and setting up new checkpoints over the past month, failed, prompting Damascus to send military reinforcements to the area earlier this week.

The pro-government Al-Watan newspaper described the events in Daraa as “the start of a military operation against the hideouts of the terrorists who thwarted a reconciliation deal.”

There were unconfirmed reports by Thursday evening that the Fifth Corps – which had been kept out of the fighting – was brokering a ceasefire agreement. However, residents reported that intense fighting continues so far.

The escalation in Daraa al-Balad represents a breakdown of negotiations between the “reconciliation” rebel leaders and the regime, mediated by Russia. Elizabeth Tsurkov, a knowledgeable fellow at the New Lines Institute, said Assad is now applying the “solution” he wanted to impose on Deraa all along — forcing those who refuse to act as pro-Syrian subjects to fully surrender and displace the dynamics of southern Syria.

“unless Russia He intervenes to put an end to the fighting and broker a ceasefire, and the fighting will lead to more civilian deaths and displacement, and Daraa al-Balad will likely be brought under the full control of the regime.”

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