Islamic State faction reduced to three villages in western Daraa Province


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    UPDATE, 1645 GMT: The Islamic State-linked faction Jaish Khalid ibn al-Walid has reportedly surrendered to pro-Assad forces in its final areas in southwest Syria.

    Reports says the fighters hare being allowed to leave in return for freedom for about 30 men and women abducted by ISIS during an attack earlier this week in southeast Syria which killed an estimated 215 people.

    Pro-Assad forces are close to recapturing all territory held by an Islamic State-linked faction in southwest Syria.

    Local sources reported that the offensive has taken all but a few villages held by Jaish Khalid Ibn al-Walid. The group has been established in the Yarmouk Basin, a pocket of western Daraa Province, since 2015.

    The pro-Assad forces had been concentrating since June 19 on seizing opposition areas, with Russian airstrikes enabling their captures and capitulation agreements with rebels. Once almost all opposition territory was occupied in Daraa and Quneitra Provinces, near the Jordanian border and the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, then the Assad regime and its allies turned to JKW.

    The last major JKW position, Sharajah, was stormed on Monday. Remaining villages held by the faction, such as Kuwayah (see map), were being heavily bombed on Monday night.

    Meanwhile, the Assad regime continues to negotiate for the release of 30 people, including at least 14 women, abducted by ISIS last week in a deadly attack on Sweida Province in southeast Syria.

    The first round of talks ended without resolution on Monday. The regime rejected the demands of the Islamic State for the end of the operations against JKW in the Yarmouk Basin and withdrawal of regime forces from the Sweida desert.