Locals destroy government military vehicles west of Syria’s Daraa

DARAA, Syria (North Press) – Local militants from the town of Tafas, west of Daraa in southern Syria, destroyed on Wednesday a T-55 tank and bulldozer of the Syrian government forces during the latter’s attempt to advance towards the town.

A local source told North Press that fierce clashes have been taking place between the two sides since the morning, as the government forces attempt to advance towards the southern neighborhoods of the town.

The source said that the government forces targeted the town’s neighborhoods with several artillery shells, injuring five people.

The residents of the southern neighborhoods fled to other parts of the town, fearing the government artillery, the source added.

The government forces have been clamping down on Tafas for more than 10 days, bringing in military reinforcements and closing all the routs leading to it.

In July 2018, the opposition armed faction and government forces reached a cease-fire agreement mediated by Russia in the opposition-held areas in Daraa Governorate, except its northwestern countryside. Under the deal, the opposition armed factions agreed to hand over their heavy weapons and stay in Daraa, and those oppose the agreement would go to Idlib, which is under the control of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).

However, there are many opposition militants who did not comply with the deal and stayed in the governorate, despite the Syrian government regaining control over the area.

The government demands locals to hand over these militants so they can be extradited to Idlib and other opposition-held areas, threatening to storm the cities and towns – such as Tafas – if the locals did not comply.

Since the government forces re-captured Daraa in the 2018 agreement, the governorate has been living in a state of security chaos, with one or two daily assassinations targeting soldiers and officers of the government forces, not to mention the spread of thefts.

Reporting by Mo’ayed al-Ashqar