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Syria state media confirms deal with rebels for Daraa city

AFP  |  Damascus 

Syrian has confirmed a deal between the regime and rebels for opposition fighters to hand over their heavy weapons in the southern city of

On Friday, an agreement was announced for the wider province of the same name, the cradle of the 2011 uprising against But the implementation was set to occur in three stages: first in the east of the province, then rebel-held parts of the provincial capital Daraa, and finally the province's west.

"A deal has been reached between the Syrian state and the terrorist groups in al-Balad," state agency reported yesterday, referring to the rebels.

Under the deal for opposition-held areas of city, rebels are to hand over their heavy and medium-sized weapons, it said. It would also provide for "fighters who wish to do so to settle their status with the regime" and stay, "and for those who refuse the agreement to leave the city", it said.

It is the latest in a string of such so-called "reconciliation" deals that have allowed the Russia-backed regime to retake large parts of the country since 2015. These agreements often come after blistering military campaigns, and see thousands of rebel fighters evacuated on buses to areas still held by the opposition in the north of the country.

The deal announced Friday came more than two weeks into a government offensive on rebel-held areas of southern close to and the Israeli-occupied

Regime forces have now retaken more than 80 per cent of Daraa province, according to Britain-based monitoring group the for Human Rights.

Some western areas of the province remain under opposition control, while the deal does not include a southwestern patch held by an affiliate of the Islamic State jihadist group.

Syria's conflict has killed more than 350,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, July 12 2018. 03:25 IST