After days of violent clashes between government forces and opposition rebels, a Russia-negotiated ceasefire has come into effect in the southern city of Deraa in Syria. The development has come after intense pressure from Moscow on the rebel enclave. Last week, Russian generals proposed a plan to meet some of the demands of Syrian rebels and deploy Russian military police in rebel-held southern district of Daraa al-Balad.
Supported by rebel fights, the deal also allowed the raising of Syrian and Russian flags in the opposition stronghold. The agreement also offered a safe passage to rebels opposing the peace efforts to leave the region and move towards northwest Syria.
As per reports by state news agency SANA, some rebels have handed over their weapons in Deraa al-Balad after the ceasefire deal came into effect. Furthermore, government-run centres are likely to be set up across the city to allow rebels to hand over their weapons and resolve any pending issues.
The deal will also facilitate the reinstallation of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad’s military and security apparatus in the region. In addition, it will allow Russian military police and Syrian regime-linked security committee to travel to the area to collaborate the ceasefire.
According to experts, Russia will continue efforts to maintain its status quo in the rebel-held city. Earlier this year, Moscow lifted curbs imposed on the iron grip of the Assad regime in southern Syria.
Previously, at least two Russia-led attempts to facilitate the surrender of the rebel enclave have collapsed in the past two months over disagreements between the sides on various factors. Fighting between Syrian forces and rebel enclave escalated in various regions bordering Jordan and Israel after the collapse of Russian peace efforts. While Russia is working on establishing peace and stability in Deraa, the US and its allies have expressed concerns over Assad regime’s military’s actions in the region.
Need for humanitarian aid
Prominent internationals institutions including the Amnesty International have called on the Assad-led Syrian government to end its siege on Deraa al-Balad with the aim of allowing access to humanitarian aid in the region as thousands of people continue to live in dire circumstances.
Syria has been ravaged by years of civil war, resulting in the killing of hundreds and thousands of people and displacement of more than 10 million. The United Nations among other global agencies have been continuing their efforts to provide necessary aid and relief to thousands of Syrians affected by the civil war.