More than 400 militants holed up in Syria’s southwestern province of Dara’a have agreed to lay down their arms and renounce violence following breaches of a truce agreement they reached with the national army last month.
A Syrian military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Russia’s Sputnik news agency on Monday that a total of 430 militants, who had violated the truce in Dara’a al-Balad neighborhood, accepted to regulate their status and handed over 105 pieces of weaponry at a reconciliation center in the area.
The militants began to arrive at the reconciliation center from 10:00 a.m. local time (0700 GMT) as the deadline set by Syrian government authorities for militants to accept the ceasefire conditions was expiring.
The Syrian army had pledged to resume its counter-terrorism military operations once the deadline passed.
Under the truce deal, reached on August 14, the militants were obliged to hand over their weapons, and government forces were due to install checkpoints in nine districts of Dara’a al-Balad.
All militants who refused to lay down their weapons were to depart for the north of Syria or Jordan by buses provided by government authorities.
Back in 2018, Syrian army troops, backed by Russia and Iran, managed to establish control over Dara’a Province, which is bordered by Jordan to the south and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights to the west.
Thousands of foreign-sponsored militants handed over their heavy weapons under a Russian-mediated deal, but maintained grip on Dara’a al-Balad.
The militants have intensified their attacks since late July, targeting residential areas.
In response, government forces have imposed a siege on Dara’a al-Balad, but opened a corridor for civilians to leave.
Establishment of full government control over Dara’a is highly important because it borders the occupied Golan Heights, which the Israeli regime has used to treat wounded terrorists fighting against the Syrian government since 2011.
The territory’s return to Syrian government control could cut the much-reported collaboration between Israel and the militants and accordingly deal a blow to Tel Aviv’s plans to annex the Golan Heights.