Syria rebels reject Russia conditions for surrender in Daraa
Syrian rebels in Daraa have rejected surrender conditions proposed by Russian negotiators to end days of violence in the country's south, a rebel spokesman said on Saturday.
"The talks collapsed because the Russians insisted on their conditions that want us to surrender," rebel spokesman Ibrahim Jabawi said
"The [rebels'] negotiating team refused to surrender and refused to accept the Russian conditions."
Jabawi said that Russia - a staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad's - wants rebels to hand over their weapons followed by a return of government forces to rebel-held areas.
"All people who carried arms would be put on trial," he added.
Russia on Friday gave the rebels in Daraa 12 hours to lay down their arms, before bombing of war-torn southern provinces resumes should the rebels reject the ultimatum.
Shortly after the collapse of negotiations, airstrikes intensified on rebel-held parts of Daraa province that borders Jordan.
Since 19 June, the Damascus regime has pressed a deadly bombardment campaign in southern Syria in a bid to retake the strategic area bordering Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday that at least eight battered rebel-held towns in Daraa returned to regime control under Russian-brokered deals.
The agreements for the eight towns were reached even as regime airstrikes pounded other opposition holdouts in Daraa.
State news agency SANA confirmed the deals for the five towns of Dael, Western Ghariya, Eastern Ghariya, Talul Khlayf and Tal al-Sheikh Hussein.
Retaking the whole of Daraa province would be a symbolic victory for the regime, as it is seen as the cradle of the anti-Assad uprising seven years ago that spiralled into civil war.