Syria rebels 'agree deal' to surrender Quneitra

Saturday, 21 Jul, 2018

It comes after a week of heavy artillery shelling and air strikes from Syrian and Russian forces on Nawa, according to the United Kingdom based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

The hilltop, which had a major anti-aircraft radar base that was part of elaborate Syrian army defences against Israel, and is the highest ground in Deraa province, fell into rebel hands in October 2014.

A string of towns - Al-Hara, Samlin, and Zimrin - had agreed to fall back into regime control, while troops overran Al-Tiha militarily.

The Syrian military has so far liberated more than 90 percent of Dara'a Province from the grip of Takfiri elements.

The agreement, according to the Observatory, excludes Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a jihadist-led alliance that holds territory straddling Quneitra and Daraa.

HTS had refused a surrender, ushering in a wave of regime and Russian shelling that have killed 30 jihadis since Sunday.

But the jihadist alliance prevented 23 buses carrying about 900 people from Fuaa and Kafraya from leaving after around 700 released detainees chose to stay in regime areas, said the Observatory.

An AFP photographer there saw a plume of smoke emerging from the sloping hilltop overlooking agricultural plains on Monday.

Senior officers understand that the government is under pressure over its failure to stop incendiary kites and other attacks from Gaza, and that the chances of war have risen significantly over the past few days.

Dara'a militants have been handing over their heavy weapons to Syrian government forces and leaving the region in negotiated surrender deals mediated by Russian Federation.

He blamed the airstrike on Russia, Syrian President Bashar Assad's top ally.

Reuters could not independently confirm the report.

However, before they can secure the Al-Quneitra Governorate's western axis, the Syrian army will have to capture the key town of Nabe' Al-Sakher, which is located just west of Tal Al-Harrah.

Many of those trapped by the Syrian government's advances were hoping for relief from Israel, or some sort of a safe zone there, said Areej Ghabash, a local health worker in Quneitra.

The arson attacks began during mass demonstrations along the border, at which thousands of Palestinians have expressed their support for the declared right of Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral homes in what is now Israel and also demanded an end to the blockade of Gaza imposed by Israel and Egypt.

Congressional officials and other supporters argue that USA recognition of Israeli control of the Golan Heights could thwart Russian Federation and Iran's growing influence in Syria and also send a powerful message that the United States sides with the Jewish state's security interests as regional tensions grow.

Ahead of the summit, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Putin in Moscow and on Sunday spoke to Trump about Iran and Syria and thanked him for his tough stance on Iran. The Observatory said at least 12 were killed as rescuers struggled to get to the casualties.

"For our part we will sanctify the 1974 disengagement agreement, and there too we will insist that every last letter be abided by, and any violation with meet a harsh response from the State of Israel", Lieberman told his parliamentary faction, as quoted by Israeli media.