Calm prevails in southern Syria ahead of truce

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Soldiers loyal to the Syrian regime gesture while on their military tanks in Qusair, after the Syrian army took control of the city from rebel fighters. File photo

A day before a new ceasefire deal takes effect in southwestern Syria, the concerned areas are relatively calm with the exception of sporadic strikes by the Syrian regime, a monitoring group have said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday, the Syrian regime shelled two villages in the northern countryside of Daraa, one of three provinces affected by the ceasefire.

The Observatory said at least one person was killed and a total of 16 such bombs were dropped in the area, wounding several.

The US-Russian-Jordanian brokered deal is to be enforced by midday on Sunday, in the provinces of Daraa, Sweida and Quneitra in the southwest, along the Jordanian border.

The agreement was the result of a two-hour – first of a kind – meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart, Donald Trump, on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg on Friday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had said that Russian military police in the area would monitor the ceasefire.

The deal is separate from an agreement that Russia, Turkey and Iran struck earlier this year to try to establish “de-escalation zones” in Syria.

The US, wary of Iran’s involvement, stayed away from that effort. Follow-up talks this week in Kazakhstan were unable to produce agreement on finalising a cease-fire in those zones.

A new round of UN-sponsored peace talks is to be held in Geneva on Monday. Those talks, aimed at forming a transitional government and ‘combatting terrorism’, have made little progress since they resumed earlier this year.

Agencies 

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