Middle East

Assad regime launches intense attack on Syria's besieged Daraa city

Regime, Iranian-backed militias conducting ground operation in Daraa al-Balad neighborhood since July 29

Esref Musa, Ethem Emre Ozcan and Mehmet Burak Karacaoglu   | 05.09.2021
Assad regime launches intense attack on Syria's besieged Daraa city


Syrian regime forces early Sunday escalated attacks on the Daraa al-Balad neighborhood in southwestern Syria.

The Iranian-backed 4th Division militia group targeted the neighborhood with intense attacks after four days, said Eymen Ebu Nokta, spokesman for the Horan Freedoms Community, a group founded by activists and journalists from Daraa.

Noting that Assad regime forces broke a cease-fire agreement reached Sept. 1, he said the regime aimed to force residents to migrate.

Ebu Nokta added that machine guns, mortar artillery, tanks and grad missiles were used in the attacks.

Since July 29, the Bashar al-Assad regime and Iranian-backed militias have launched a ground operation on the neighborhood, triggering clashes that spread across the countryside.

Daraa al-Balad was blockaded by regime forces on June 25 after residents, including former members of the Syrian opposition, resisted an order to surrender light weapons and allow regime forces to search houses in the area.

The Horan Freedoms Community said that during recent Russian-led mediation talks with the opposition, regime forces demanded that residents and armed opposition groups surrender all light weapons and allow home searches, and the setting up of nine checkpoints in the neighborhood.

The demands, however, were rejected by the Daraa-based Reconciliation Center which was negotiating on behalf of the residents, prompting the regime to conduct fresh attacks on the besieged city.

Daraa, known as the birthplace of the Syrian revolution, is home to 40,000 residents and was an opposition stronghold until 2018.

Syria has been ravaged by civil war since early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protesters.

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