Towns in eastern Daraa accept new settlement agreements
A number of towns in eastern Daraa accepted settlement agreements with the Syrian regime on Thursday, the latest in a series of agreements meant to re-impose Damascus’ control over the area.
The settlement agreement includes the border town of Nassib, Umm al-Mayathen and al-Taybeh, Abu al-Bara al-Horani, a member of local media group Association of Houran Free Men, told The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site, Al Araby al-Jadeed.
Regime forces had arrived to the eastern countryside of Daraa earlier in the week to put pressure on these towns to accept the settlement deals, al-Horani said. The military reinforcements left on Thursday after the settlement deal was signed.
The settlement comes as part of a larger offensive undertaken by the regime starting with the siege and eventual retaking of Daraa al-Balad, a small city in Daraa governorate.
After rejecting the results of the Syrian presidential elections this spring, Daraa al-Balad was besieged by Syrian regime forces and its allied militias for over two months. Fighting also broke out after government forces attempted to storm the city and were rebuffed by opposition elements.
The eventual acceptance of a settlement by Daraa al-Balad was seen as a mixed victory, but has given the regime the momentum it needed to create new settlement agreements in numerous towns and villages in Daraa governorate.
Pro-regime media has covered the new settlements with interest, declaring it an ‘end to lawlessness’ in southern Syria. Previously, the outlets said, the area was plagued with gangs and crime in the absence of Syrian security forces.
After retaking southern Syria in summer 2018, the regime created “reconciliation agreements” with towns on an individual basis. These agreements, which were under Russian mediation, governed the terms of engagement between the former opposition towns and the regime.
Agreements generally allowed former opposition figures to gain amnesty from the regime, incorporated fighters into the regime army and guaranteed the Syrian army would not enter Daraa.
The most recent regime offensive in southern Syria is largely seen as a way for the regime to renegotiate the terms of these deals.