Daraa, thousands IDPs return after deal between government and rebels
The turning point after two weeks of intense government bombing. In a few weeks more than 320 thousand people had fled. Some rebel factions do not accept the ceasefire and intend to continue to fight. Today the army loyal to President Assad controls over 60% of the territory.
Damascus (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Tens of thousands of people have returned to their homes in southern Syria, following a ceasefire agreement signed by Russia - an ally of Damascus in the conflict - and some rebel groups. A deal that, according to experts, could put an end to more than two weeks of intense bombing in the area, which have caused numerous victims.
Sources in Syria for the London based NGO, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, report that the agreement seems to hold, even in the face of isolated violence. Among these, an air raid on Um al-Mayazin that killed four civilians and caused the rebels to be evacuated.
The army loyal to President Bashar al-Assad intends to regain control of the southern province of Daraa, an area of strategic importance on the border with Jordan and the Golan plateau, in the hands of Israel. It ws here that protests first broke out in 2011, resulting in an open conflict.
Since June 19 a massive campaign of Syrian air bombing in the province has caused the flight of over 320 thousand people; UN sources report that many have sought shelter across the border. On July 6, the government and rebels reached an agreement for a ceasefire, on the promise of arms delivery and an evacuation corridor for fighters.
In these days at least 60 thousand people have already returned to their homes, having crossed the Jordanian border. Anders Pederson, the UN humanitarian coordinator in the Hashemite kingdom, confirms that the majority of displaced persons have returned. At the moment there would "only" be between 150 and 200 people still camped at the border and the re-entries "continue".
However. some rebel factions do not seem intent on respecting the ceasefire and intend to continue fighting the Syrian army and its Russian ally. Under the agreement, government forces will be available along the border with Jordan while rebel groups are committed to handing over heavy weapons.
Today, President Assad and his forces control over 60% of the territory. Since it first broke out in March 2011, the conflict has caused 350 thousand victims so far and triggered the worst humanitarian catastrophe since the Second World War. In recent years, Jordan has accepted at least 1.3 million refugees and has declared that it no longer intends to allow new entries.