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Syria displays weapons captured from militants in Dara'a operation

Syrian army soldiers display weapons confiscated from militants at a military base in the town of Izra', Dara'a Province, July 4, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

The Syrian army has put on display weapons and ammunition seized from anti-Damascus militants during a major counter-terrorism operation in the strategic southern province of Dara’a.

Tanks, machine guns, shoulder-mounted transmitters and missiles were among the items exhibited in a military camp in Dara’a on Wednesday.

An unnamed Syrian army commander said the weapons, some of which were extremely rare in the Arab country, had been confiscated during the anti-terror campaign in Dara’a’s four southeastern villages.

“Before we entered the villages, the militants had escaped, but left the weapons,” he said.

The commander also noted that the Syrian government forces would use a part of the seized arms in their fight against Takfiri terrorists.

Since June 19, the Syrian army, backed by Russia’s air cover, has been conducting the operation in Dara'a, which borders Jordan and the Israeli-occupied side of Syria’s Golan Heights.

The Syrian forces have so far managed to liberate almost 80 percent of the province from the grip of foreign-backed terrorists, according to the al-Watan newspaper.

Dara’a’s return to the Syrian government control would cut the much-reported collaboration between Israel and anti-Damascus militants. Thus, the Tel Aviv regime has beefed up its military presence in the Golan Heights in recent days.

The Syrian army’s advances against terrorists have also prompted a new wave of refugees heading towards Jordan, where they have been denied entry.

In a bid to minimize civilian casualties, both Damascus and Moscow have been initiating talks with militants to make them hand back the areas they control to the Damascus government without fighting.

On Wednesday, Moscow held a new round of discussions with militants operating in southern Syria.

The joint militant command, however, announced that the talks had collapsed minutes after they began.

“Negotiations with the Russian enemy in Busra al-Sham have failed, after they insisted on the surrender of heavy weapons,” it said in a statement.

Militant spokesman Ibrahim al-Jabawi also confirmed that the talks had not produced “any results,” claiming that Moscow had insisted on anti-Damascus elements handing over their heavy arms in one go.

“The session ended. No future meetings have been set,” he told AFP.

The United Nations Security Council is set to hold a closed-door emergency meeting later on Thursday regarding the crisis in southern Syria, which has displaced between 270,000 and 330,000 people.

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