Iraq News

Shells hit south Syria city for first time in 3 years

Opposition shellfire slammed into the southern Syrian city of Sweida on Tuesday (June 19th) for the first time in three years, as fresh regime reinforcements arrived in the area, AFP reported.

The government holds most of Sweida province but opposition fighters still control much of the nearby Daraa and Quneitra provinces.

On Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said opposition forces fired shells into Sweida city, "which led to loud blasts but no casualties".

"It is the first time since 2015 that the city has been subjected to shellfire," said Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman.

Sweida, whose residents are mostly from the Druze minority, has remained relatively insulated from seven years of war that ravaged the rest of the country.

But opposition fighters hold a sliver of territory in western Sweida that borders their main bastion in the province of Daraa, and clashes and exchanges of fire have erupted in that area in recent days.

Syria's government has set its sights on ousting the opposition from the south and has been dispatching troops and equipment there for weeks.

But the government has also hinted that a political settlement over the south's fate could be reached.

"We have moved towards the south and we are giving the political process a chance," Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said last week.

"If that does not succeed, we have no other option but to liberate it by force."

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