Syria: rebel stronghold of Daraa retaken by pro-Government forces

13 July 2018

Syria: rebel stronghold of Daraa retaken by pro-Government forces

The Syrian rebel stronghold city of Daraa has been retaken by pro-Government forces.

The Syrian national flag was raised as indication of surrender, after Russia brokered an amnesty agreement and promised of safe passage to the rebel-held north.

Daraa’s surrounding regions have been recaptured since major offensives began on 19th June.

Intensive air, artillery, and rocket strikes broke through the rebel’s defences, causing over 300,000 civilians to flee to impromptu camps on the Jordan and Israeli borders.

Refugees on the Jordan border are returning to their homes as the Daraa rebels throw down arms and accept state rule.

The seven-year civil war has killed nearly 400,000 Syrians, and displaced another 11 million.

The city marks the starting place of the Syrian uprising in March 2011, when pro-democracy protests began.

The civilian push for President Assad’s resignation sparked dissent, and violence ensued as the government attempted to close down demonstrations.

Opposers to the Assad regime accessed weapons, eventually employing arms to resist security forces that began to occupy dissent hot-spots.

Eastern Ghouta, a semi-rural area in the Damascus region, was regained by Assad forces in April, a success that re-instated the President’s objective to bring the rebels back under state rule completely.

The retaking of Daraa is being considered a significant milestone in the Syrian civil conflict, however, jihadist militants remain in Syria’s south where hostilities continue.

International NGOs are working to relieve many thousands of homeless civilians of the health threats that face the camps, such as poor sanitation, malnutrition, and fatigue.

The World Health Organisation and UN humanitarian efforts continue to canvass Jordanian and Israeli authorities for support and asylum.

300,000 persons remain displaced, 70% of which now seek refuge in Quneitra near Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, where UN Disengagement Observer Forces currently locate.