Iraq News

Syria opposition close to deal with Russia on Daraa

Opposition fighters in Daraa said Friday (July 6th) they were close to reaching a deal with regime ally Russia, including a ceasefire and the handover of some territory, AFP reported.

A meeting between opposition and Russian negotiators was continuing Friday afternoon with no confirmation of a final agreement.

But its broad outlines were described to AFP by two spokesmen for the joint opposition command in the south.

Hussein Abazeed said a ceasefire would take hold in Daraa province, with the opposition handing over its heavy-duty weapons in stages in exchange for the regime withdrawing from four recently recaptured towns.

Regime forces would then take control of a key route running along the border with Jordan, up to the Nassib border crossing.

"The Nassib crossing will come under a Syrian civil administration, with Russian supervision," Abazeed said.

The regime and Russia on Friday took control of the crossing, more than three years after it was seized by the opposition.

"Cars carrying Russian military police and representatives of the Syrian government's border administration entered the Nassib crossing without a fight," said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights head Rami Abdel Rahman.

Abazeed said the preliminary deal also provided for the safe transfer of at least 6,000 people, including opposition fighters and civilians, to Idlib province.

Regime ally Russia has been brokering talks for the negotiated surrender of opposition fighters in Daraa.

The negotiations collapsed on Wednesday, ushering in a day-long volley of airstrikes, barrel bombs and missiles that ultimately pressured the opposition to return to the table. They resumed talks at around midday on Friday.

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