Government, locals meet in Syria’s Daraa to go on with agreement

DARAA, Syria (North Press) A meeting was held on Wednesday between community leaders from the town of Tafas and the security committee of the Syrian government forces in Daraa city to proceed with a previous deal regarding halting hostilities in the town.

On August 14, conflicting information emerged regarding reaching an agreement between former leaders of the Syrian government and opposition in a meeting held on August 13, stipulating ending tension the town nearly for 18 days.

Local sources told North Press, “The meeting came to complete what was agreed upon on Monday between the two parties.”

The source added that both “Major General Mufeed Hassan, head of the security committee of the government forces, and Daraa Governor Louay Kharita attended the meeting.”

In July 2018, the opposition armed faction and government forces reached a ceasefire agreement mediated by Russia in the opposition-held areas in Daraa Governorate. Under the deal, the opposition armed factions agreed to hand over their heavy weapons in exchange for staying 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 with their arms in the governorate.

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.

The government forces are scheduled to be withdraw from the vicinity of the town during Thursday and Friday, which is the last step of the agreement between the two parties.

“The withdrawal of these forces will take place tomorrow morning on Thursday, marking the end of tension there. After that, farmers can reach their farms in that area, where government forces have set up military posts,” the sources stated.

Before the agreement, Tafas lived in a state of tension for more than two weeks, after the government forces began bringing in military reinforcements to the vicinity. The forces also shelled the town’s residential neighborhoods and blocked many roads that lead to it.

On Tuesday, members of the government forces entered Tafas to begin implementing the terms of the agreement that was made between the government forces on the one hand and former leaders of the Syrian opposition and the town’s community leaders on the other.

Since the government forces re-captured Daraa in line with 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 Ihsan Muhammad