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Daraa’s Volatility Nearing Its End As Other Syrian Issues Press Forth

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Daraa’s Volatility Nearing Its End As Other Syrian Issues Press Forth
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After a “long-winding road”, hostilities in Syria’s Daraa province might be nearing their end.

On September 8th, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) began working to establish permanent positions inside the southern part of Daraa city, known as Daraa al-Balad.

The SAA is going to establish at least 9 posts in the southern part of the city as per the August 31st reconciliation agreement, brokered by Russia.

The SAA entered Daraa al-Balad early in the day. Forces from the Russian Military Police and the 8th Brigade, a unit of the 5th Corps that is dedicated for former rebels in Daraa, facilitated the deployment of the army.

Immediately, a combing operation was carried out, clearing several hideouts and exploding an IED presumably placed for an impromptu attack.

The army also opened the main route leading to Daraa al-Balad, allowing hundreds of civilians who were displaced as a result of the clashes to return.

As for now, more than 900 gunmen in Daraa al-Balad have handed over their weapons and joined the reconciliation process. Those who refuse the agreement will be deported to opposition-held areas in northern Syria.

Meanwhile in Central Syria, efforts to contain ISIS are on-going but not as successful as the SAA and Russia would hope.

On September 7, ISIS cells carried out a large-scale attack against the SAA and allies in the eastern countryside of Homs.

The attack targeted a network of positions near the border with Deir Ezzor, where the militants are concentrated. ISIS terrorists have been clashing with pro-government fighters for a few hours then withdrew back to their hideouts.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 6 pro-government fighters were killed and 8 others were wounded as a result of the attack.

Three days earlier, a similar attack by ISIS cells targeted a number of positions near the town of Ithriyah in the eastern countryside of Hama. The attack claimed the lives of eight Iranian-backed fighters who were supporting the SAA.

Over the last few days, Russian warplanes have carried out dozens of air strikes on ISIS hideouts in the region. At least nine terrorists were killed in the process, but militant attacks still continue.

Syrian government forces and their allies have been operating against ISIS cells in the central region for more than two years now. The terrorist group’s insurgency has slowed down but attacks still happen somewhat regularly. It is unlikely that they will stop anytime soon, unless a massive combing operation is carried out.

The issue is that the SAA and the Russian Aerospace Forces are dealing with several hot spots in different Syrian regions. These include the so-called “moderate opposition” in Greater Idlib, the Turkish Army, the factions it backs and their fights against the Kurds, as well as containing ISIS in the central regions.

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