Following talks with the Russian army, the Assad regime and opposition had agreed on a two-week truce in the southwestern province Daraa. On Sunday, the regime forces attacked opposition headquarters in Daraa and surrounded neighborhoods with tanks and heavy machine guns. Residents were prevented from using the Saraya crossing point to exit Daraa.
Daraa has been the birthplace of the Syrian uprising that started in 2011 against Assad’s rule. Backed by Russia, the regime forces captured the province and surrounding neighborhoods. Rebels surrendered their heavy weapons under a Russian-brokered settlement agreement.
Regime forces and state institutions have returned to the northern half of the city of Daraa, Daraa al-Mahatta. Tit-far-tat bombings, assassinations, and hit-and-run attacks have regularly been taking place by anonymous gunmen since 2018.
On June 24, the regime imposed a siege on the Daraa al-Balad neighbourhood in the center of Daraa. The past few weeks have seen artillery shelling by the regime forces and counterattack by the opposition fighters. The opposition seized several government positions across the province and captured more than 40 troops and militia.
The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, warned that civilians were deprived of fuel, cooking gas, water, bread, and medical assistance. Nearly half of the population fled Daraa al-Balad.
Talks were underway to end fighting since 28 people were killed as part of the clashes. Previous attempts by Russia failed until an agreement was finally reached between opposition forces and the regime on August 14. Daraa central committees revealed that reopening of the Saraya crossing and a Russian roadmap for peacefully ending the military escalation was covered in the meetings. The agreement was stated to come out for Russia to patrol Daraa and a committee to be formed to monitor the truce implementations.