Thousands of displaced Syrians were heading home today after rebels and the government reached a ceasefire deal in the south following more than two weeks of deadly bombardment.
Under the agreement announced Friday after talks between rebels and regime ally Moscow, opposition fighters will hand over territory in the southern province of Daraa near the Jordanian border.
"More than 20,000 people have set off for home so far, heading to areas for which an accord has been reached in the southeastern Daraa countryside," he said.
But others "are scared to return to regime-controlled areas, fearing their children will be arrested," Abdel Rahman said.
More than 150 civilians have been killed in the regime bombing campaign on Daraa since June 19, the Observatory says, and trust in the government does not run high.
Osama al-Homsi, 26, said he was hesitant to return to his hometown of Jeeza in southeastern Daraa after the deal.
"Of course I support the agreement to stop the fighting and bloodshed," said the young man, who sought shelter from the bombardment in a field to the south of Daraa city.
"But what is frightening is that it comes with no UN guarantees... The Russian and the Syrian regime offer no safety," he said.
Only when it is clear the ceasefire has really been implemented and "if we are guaranteed that no one will pursue us, will we want to return," Homsi said.
Yesterday's accord follows a string of similar deals with rebels for other areas of Syria, which have seen the regime retake more than 60 per cent of the country, according to the Observatory.
Under the accord, rebels are expected to hand over their heavy weapons, while those who reject the agreement will be bused with their families to opposition-held areas in the north of the country, state media has said.
An Islamic State jihadist group affiliate, which holds a small pocket in the southwest of Daraa, is excluded from the deal.
Government forces will also take over "all observation posts along the Syrian-Jordanian border", state media said on Friday, hours after the regime regained control of the vital Nassib border crossing with Jordan.
One of the arches of the key frontier post was damaged, mangled metal wires sprouting from the concrete structure.
He obtained "control over the Syrian-Jordanian border areas in Daraa, the gradual disarmament of the rebels' heavier weapons, and the opportunity to rebuild his government's influence in southern Syria," the analyst at the Washington-based Centre for a New American Security said.
"The government will have to figure out how to advance without agitating the Israelis and triggering destructive Israeli military action," he added.
More than 350,000 people have been killed and millions displaced since Syria's war started in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.
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