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The New Arab

Daraa rebels evacuated to northern Syria after rare deal with regime following anti-Assad uprising

Russia is a staunch ally of the Assad regime [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 March, 2020

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The Assad regime and rebels signed a Russian backed agreement to end fighting in Daraa.
The Syrian regime agreed to the evacuation of a group of Syrian rebels following a brief uprising in the southern province of Daraa.

Regime forces have since Sunday fought rebels in the town of Sanamayn, situated in Daraa province which was famous for being the cradle of the Syrian revolution.

Seven opposition fighters were killed in the intense clashes, according to watchdog Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

The attacks continued up until Monday, in which relative calm was restored, SOHR reported.

On Tuesday, the fighting factions signed a peace agreement brokered by Russia, local media reported. 

According to a regime military source, around 50 opposition fighters were sent from Daraa to Aleppo as a part of the agreement. 

Russia is a strong backer of the Assad regime. 

Where the revolution began

The southern province of Daraa was captured by Syrian regime and Russian forces in July 2018, more than seven years after it served as the birthplace of the Syrian uprising. 

But the province remains restive despite its return to regime control.

Attacks by unknown assailants on regime checkpoints and officials in Daraa have increased in recent months, with more than a dozen regime forces and two Russian soldiers killed in December last year.

In February, two Oxfam aid workers were killed and another volunteer injured in an attack on their vehicle in Daraa.

Oxfam condemned the killing, and blamed it on an "unidentified armed group".

Ongoing crisis

Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad lost huge swathes of the country following an armed uprising after the brutal repression of peaceful protesters in 2011.

According to UN figures, the Syria war has caused the greatest refugee crisis in the world, with at least 5.5 million people fleeing the country and more than 6 million more displaced inside Syria.

The UN estimated in 2018 that the war had caused nearly $400 billion in war-related destruction.

The Syrian war is considered to have caused the biggest wave of displacement since the Second World War, mostly due to regime and Russian bombing and shelling of civilian areas.

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