Syria progresses on 'settlement deals' in Daraa province

Syrian regime releases handful of prisoners as part of 'settlement deals' in Daraa province
2 min read
08 November, 2021
The Syrian government announced sporadic prisoner releases, part of a ceasefire agreement reached in September to end an armed insurgency in Deraa province.
Opposition militants from southern Syria lay down arms as part of the settlement process [TASS/Getty]

Fifteen detainees were released on Sunday by the Syrian regime in Daraa province, southern Syria, according to the pro-government Syrian State News Agency (SANA). The releases took place in the context of "settlement agreements" concluded in September between the Syrian regime and opposition groups to pacify the south of Syria.

The governor of Daraa told the press that more releases will take place in the coming days. Those eligible include convicted criminals who have not taken part in combat against the Syrian army. 

Daraa's governor also mentioned that the cases of "missing persons" would be examined individually, sparking hope among the families of political prisoners and disappeared persons. Thousands of people have been arbitrarily detained by the regime forces over the course of the war, often without the knowledge of their families. The Syrian regime does not disclose information on these arrests, leaving families in anguish. 

Daraa province has been an opposition stronghold since the early days of the Syrian revolution, until it was retaken by the Assad regime in 2018.  The area has since been plagued by rampant insecurity and the assassinations of dozens of local regime and opposition figures.

Full-scale revolt ignited in parts of Daraa in the spring 2021 following the presidential election, which were widely boycotted in pro-opposition areas of government-controlled Syria. Regime forces launched a crippling siege on Daraa al-Balad in June. Heavy fighting between the two parties led to the displacement of 30,000 people in the first month of the offensive.

Settlement agreements aiming to end the insurgency were reached in September the town of Daraa al-Balad and a dozen surrounding villages including Al-Yadouda, Mzairib and Tafas.

For the past two months, the Syrian army have carried out search operations across Daraa province to look for suspected opposition members and weapon caches. Opposition militants were requested to hand over heavy weapons and sign reconciliation agreements in order to "clear" their status. Others left southern Syria towards the last opposition-held enclave in northwest Syria rather than 'reconciling' with the regime.