Regime Forces Violate Cease-fire Agreement in Dara’a as US Senator Criticizes Deal

The Assad forces on Monday violated the cease-fire in southwest Syria only hours after it went into effect on Sunday. Regime forces carried out artillery and mortars shelling the outskirts of the district of Manshiyya in the city of Dara’a at dawn today, causing material damage. This is the second breach in Manshiya district in less than 24 hours.

Local activists said that regime forces also shelled the FSA-held parts in Dara’a al-Balad with heavy machine guns, without reports of injuries. They pointed out that regime forces also carried out artillery and mortar shelling on the villages of Hamidiya, Mashara, and Hamriya hill in rural Quneitra earlier on Monday.

“Assad regime forces stationed in the ‘Abandoned Battalion’ near Dara’a city bombed the town of Naima in eastern rural Dara’a with heavy artillery shells, causing material damage. The neighborhoods of Dara’a Al-Balad came under shelling by heavy machine guns,” said media activist Yasser Khatib.

Regime forces, backed by the Iranian militias and Russian aerial cover, launched a ground attack on the positions of the Free Syrian Army in northeastern rural Suweida in the early morning hours of Monday. The FSA groups previously captured these positions from the ISIS extremist group.

Saad Hajj, spokesman for the Usoud Alsharqiya FSA group, said that fierce battles broke out following a surprise attack by regime forces on the FSA positions around Tal Asfar and Tal Salman hills in rural Suweida. Hajj added that they repelled the regime attack. He denied claims by the Assad regime that the area is controlled by ISIS.

Meanwhile, senior Republican Senator Lindsay Graham on Sunday said that the war in Syria will not come to an end as long as Bashar al-Assad is in power. Graham criticized the ceasefire deal reached in in southern Syria through a deal brokered by the United States, Russia, and Jordan.

This ceasefire serves the Assad regime Graham said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” He pointed out that the US is risking ceding ground in Syria to the Russians.

Observers said that the deal reached in southern Syria did not specify a precise map of the areas covered by the cease-fire, giving the Assad regime and its allies a ready pretext to try to advance on some battlefronts in the area.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department + The New Arab Newspaper / 11.07.2017)

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