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Armed rebels surrender in Syria’s Daraa amid new deal

The Syrian army entered Daraa in 2018 after the rebels there were dislodged to the rebel-held areas in the northwestern province of Idlib

IANS | Damascus |

A new deal to defuse the tension in Syria’s Daraa province has come into forc, starting with a number of armed rebels surrendering to the authorities, according to state news agency SANA.

A number of armed men from the Daraa al-Balad area started a reconciliation process with the Syrian authorities on Wednesday, handing over their weapons as part of a new Russian-mediated deal to end months-long tension in that province, reports Xinhua news agency.

SANA said a centre was opened in the al-Arbaeen neighborhood for the armed men to hand over their weapons, which will pave the way for the return of the Syrian army and the state institutions to all of Daraa.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Russian-mediated deal went into force on Wednesday, starting with the entry of Russian forces along with Syrian security forces to Daraa to implement the new agreement.

The UK-based watchdog group said that cautious calm prevailed in Daraa on Wednesday as all parties are looking forward to implementing the so-called Russian roadmap to settle the situation in Daraa.

According to the observatory, the deal was finalized on Tuesday between dignitaries from Daraa and the Syrian authorities under the Russian mediation.

The tension in Daraa has been escalating for over three months.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) recently placed the number of internally displaced people in al-Balad area and surrounding areas in Daraa province at 38,600, including almost 15,000 women and over 20,400 children.

The Syrian army entered Daraa in 2018 after the rebels there were dislodged to the rebel-held areas in the northwestern province of Idlib.

However, the tension has continued in Daraa with attacks taking place occasionally.