Syrian Troops Celebrate Recapture of Border Crossing

Syrian forces reach Jordanian border crossing as rebels negotiate surrender

Syrian forces reach Jordanian border crossing as rebels negotiate surrender

Thousands of displaced Syrians are heading home after rebels and the government reached a Russian-brokered ceasefire in the south after more than two weeks of fierce bombardment.

Daraa is seen as the cradle of the uprising that sparked Syria's seven-year war, and the government retaking full control of it would be a symbolic victory for President Bashar Assad.

Thousands of Syrians who had fled an army offensive in the southwest to gather near a border crossing with Jordan have gone back further into Syria.

Rebels then handed some 275 square kilometres of territory near the border to regime forces without a fight, said Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman.

Many ordinary Syrians who lived in opposition held areas for years fear retribution and say they do not trust the authorities if they return to live again under state authority.

Syrian Armed Forces hoisted the Syrian flag over the Nassib border crossing with Jordan in the southern countryside of Daraa province, a military source announced on Friday.

The rebels in southern Syria once received significant backing and support from the USA that has receded and all but dried up over the past few years.

For its part, the Free Syrian Army opposition central command in the region released a statement saying the protection of civilian life was imperative.

He gave no specific time, but said the meeting would likely take place yesterday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday that the regime now controls about 70 percent of Daraa province.

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What has happened in Daraa mirrors other advances by the regime since the fall of Aleppo at the beginning of 2017.

Israel has repeatedly said that it will not allow Iran to establish a foothold in Syria and has conducted numerous air raids over the past year targeting Iranian assets in Syria.

At a meeting between rebel and Russian negotiators on Wednesday, Moscow insisted opposition factions hand over their heavy weapons in one go, while rebels wanted to do so in several phases.

An Islamic State jihadist group affiliate, which holds a small pocket in the southwest of Daraa, is excluded from the ceasefire deal.

He said that while the United Nations and partners are doing what they can to deliver life-saving aid to the people of south-west Syria - both from within the country and across the Jordanian border - the security situation is hindering efforts to reach many people in dire need.

With no sign of intervention yet by his foreign foes, government forces seem set for another big victory in the war after crushing the last remaining rebel bastions near Damascus and Homs.

"The rebels, by leaving Daraa, would be losing one of their last strongholds in Syria", he added.

These often come after blistering military offensives or crippling sieges, which effectively force the rebels into the so-called "reconciliation" deals.

Numerous civilians stranded along the border with Jordan are frightened of retribution by the regime, which captured the main crossing at Naseeb on Friday.

Lebanon hosts around 1 million registered Syrians _ roughly a quarter of Lebanon's population _ and officials have said that the country can no longer afford the strain on its fragile economy.

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