Syria regime continues bombing Daraa as Russia talks fall flat

Syria regime continues bombing Daraa as Russia talks fall flat
2 min read
18 August, 2021
Local leaders in Daraa said they would not accept the Syrian regime's demand that rebels should be forced out of the area and small arms surrendered.
Daraa Al-Balad was put under siege in late June [Getty]

The Syrian regime has continued to bomb a rebel-held area in the country's southwest after discussions with Russian representatives fell flat on Tuesday.

Daraa Al-Balad saw clashes between the regime and rebels on its outskirts Wednesday, while other parts of Daraa province were bombed, The New Arab's Arabic-language sister service, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.

Fighting erupted early in the morning and involving Assad's Iran-linked Fourth Division and local opposition fighters at the Al-Kazia roundabout, sources in the area explained.

Regime tanks fired on the Daraa and villages, as well as refugee camps.

It was not clear from the reporting whether this included a major Palestinian refugee camp in the area, which has previously been targeted.

The UN Palestinian refugee agency, UNRWA described the situation there as "dire" on Sunday.

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The latest fighting comes after discussions between local leaders in the "Central Committee" and Russian representatives - who back the Assad regime - came to nothing on Tuesday.

These talks were about Moscow's proposed "solution roadmap", which Daraa rebels have staunchly criticised.

Damascus is aiming to bring the territory fully back under its rule.

As Assad's ally, Russia has proposed terms for stopping the fighting that favour the regime, such as the forcing of opponents to depart the area.

Among the proposals rejected by local leaders were the removal of local fighters and the surrender of small arms, Mohammed Al-Hourani told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

The activist added that bombing once again hit Daraa province's Tafas city and elsewhere, as Assad's forces and their positions were reinforced.

One of the purposes of this bombing is to try and force the rebels to cave into Damascus' demands, given residents' concerns about more massacres at the hands of regime forces, Al-Hourani said.

A youth was also shot dead on Tuesday evening while he was traveling through west Daraa, sources said.

The victim was not involved in any armed faction, sources said.

Daraa Al-Balad was put under siege in late June following the locals' refusal to accept the country's sham presidential vote, which again returned dictator Bashar Al-Assad as leader.