Middle East

Regime forces bomb mosque in Syria’s besieged Daraa city

Since July 29, Bashar al-Assad regime, Iranian-backed militias conducting ground operation in Daraa al-Balad neighborhood

Esref Musa and Ethem Emre Ozcan   | 30.08.2021
Regime forces bomb mosque in Syria’s besieged Daraa city

DARAA/TAL ABYAD, Syria

Syrian regime forces on Monday escalated their attacks on the Daraa al-Balad neighborhood in southwestern Syria, bombing a local mosque in their attempt to wrest control of the city center.

Clashes broke out between opposition forces in the neighborhood and the regime, Eymen Ebu Nokta, spokesman of the Horan Freedoms Community, a group founded by activists and journalists from Daraa, told Anadolu Agency.

Ebu Nokta said the regime forces targeted the al-Mansur Mosque in Daraa al-Balad.

Regime forces also bombed the Sa'd Bin Abi Vakkas and Doctor Ghassan Aba Zayd mosques in the neighborhood over the past month, he added.

Locals in the northern and western countryside of Daraa province targeted Bashar al-Assad regime's road checkpoint with light weapons in order to show their support for Daraa al-Balad, said Ebu Nokta.

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 their 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, the regime forces had demanded that both residents and armed opposition groups surrender all their 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 some 40,000 people 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.

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz in Ankara

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