Syria Daily: US-Russia “De-Escalation” Deal Begins in Southwest — Pro-Assad Violations Reported

Free Syrian Army fighter walks in rebel-held part of Daraa, July 9, 2017 (Alaa Al-Faqir/Reuters)

A ceasefire in southwest Syria, declared by the US and Russia in their first “de-escalation” deal in the conflict, began on Sunday; however, numerous violations by pro-Assad forces are being reported.

The arrangement, which also includes Jordan, was announced as Donald Trump met Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Germany on Friday.

However, the Russians did not appear to have consulted the Assad regime over a halt to attacks, nor the US did not speak to rebel factions about the announcement.

The Southern Front rebel bloc, while sceptical of the deal and assuring that they were not part of it, initially said that the ceasefire was holding into Sunday evening.

“The situation is relatively calm,” said Suhaib al-Ruhail, a spokesman for the Alwiyat al-Furqan faction in Quneitra Province, covered by the truce that began at noon local time.

A rebel official in Daraa city, on the Jordanian border, said there had been no significant clashes. The halt in violence included the strategic area of Manshiya, most of which was taken and held by rebels this spring despite almost 2,000 bombs, missiles, and “elephant” rockets fired by pro-Assad forces.

Growing Reports of Pro-Assad Violations

However, activists and pro-opposition media were soon reporting a series of violations by pro-Assad forces, with shelling and fire from heavy machine guns on towns and villages in both Quneitra and Daraa Provinces.

This morning an outlet supporting the Free Syrian Army says pro-Assad units launched a “violent attack with airstrikes and foreign militia ground forces” in eastern Suweida Province.

A pro-regime account tried to cover the violations in eastern Suweida with the claim that 12 positions had been taken from the “Islamic State”.

Israel, which carried out three strikes on regime positions near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in the past month, welcomed the news. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed “a genuine cease-fire” provided it does not enable a military presence for Iranian-backed forces along Israel’s border.

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  1. The reason the US and Russia intervened to establish a ceasefire over Daraa is this:

    “The halt in violence included the strategic area of Manshiya, most of which was taken and held by rebels this spring despite almost 2,000 bombs, missiles, and “elephant” rockets fired by pro-Assad forces.”

    Every time Assad’s forces start losing, the US tries to organize another ceasefire. It’s vital for them to kill the idea that the rebels can win militarily.

    • Indeed, benevolent Yankistan did Assad a tremendous favour by starting this brutal proxy war which allows him to play the Generalísimo. His mid-life crisis may have been overwhelming without having his Yanki buddies to spice it up a notch. It’s nice to have such great friends …

    • Another conspiracy theory, datepalm? The reason there is this hasty ceasefire is that the people in the WH who prefer no engagement by the US in Syria are losing face with all the atrocities going on. They feel that Syria is being lost to Assad and Russia, and they will be blamed for it. (rightfully). So they are grabbing a figleaf from the Russians. Little do they know that Putin will lie and conspire and plot whichever way he can to get what he wants. The speed by which the Russians accepted the “ceasefire” just shows they are not going to give a rat’s fart for it. There can be no deal in Syria without some retribution if it is violated. The people in the WH erroneously believe that Russia acts like a western nation in its commitments. That they have a reputation to save. Such naive half-wits. Or maybe they figure that they can blame Russia for violations and pass the buck around. If Syria is lost, then Trump can go to the Democrats with his tail between the legs and say yeah, you were right, and the Russians are evil, and see what happened when I trusted them. An about-face that costs Trump nothing, but makes the isolationists and their strange “stop-war” regressive leftwing bedfellows all very happy.

  2. Rebel infighting looms in greater #Idlib as tensions rise btw #HTS and Ahrar near #Turkey border crossing 7/8/2017

    Russia and Turkey consider establishing a military base in Idlib, Syria, as Moscow encourages the Collective Security Treaty Organization to deploy peacekeepers. 7/7/2017

    Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Russian-Turkish negotiations was the suggestion that the Idlib zone could be safeguarded by peacekeeping troops from two unlikely sources: Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. 7/5/2017

  3. Strange claims about new alleged Russian PMC “TURAN” in northern Hama, with members from N Caucasus and Central Asia 4/18/2017

    Its commanders say, RusVesna reports, that they will soon be sending up to 400 of their number along the road connecting Aleppo and Deir ez-Zor in support of government forces. 4/20/2017

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