By Adham Kako and Mohamed Misto,
Daraa, Syria / Ankara, Turkey: The Syrian regime and its allies have established control over most of the country’s southernmost border with Jordan in line with a cease-fire deal between Russia and armed opposition groups.
The regime and its allies have reportedly established control along more than half of the Syria-Jordan border, including the strategic Nasib border crossing, located roughly 15 kilometers southeast of the Syrian city of Daraa.
Since June 20, the Assad regime has waged a wide-ranging military operation — supported by Russian air power — to retake the city.
Last Friday, following week-long negotiations, armed opposition groups in southern Syria reached an agreement with Russia to surrender their heavy weapons.
Some of the opposition fighters who have laid down their arms have reportedly since retreated to the city of Quneitra in the nearby Golan Heights region.
The fighting has led to a major displacement crisis, with an estimated 350,000 civilians fleeing Daraa in recent days towards areas near the Jordanian border.
According to armed opposition groups, it remains unclear whether the cease-fire deal covers Daraa’s western outskirts or Quneitra.
Following peace talks held last year in Kazakh capital Astana, Daraa was designated a “de-escalation zone” in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited.
Syria has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected ferocity.