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Assad's flag raised in birthplace of Syrian uprising

13 July 2018

The Syrian army says it has finally made its way into the city of Dara'a after weeks of battles with foreign-backed militants.

President Bashar al-Assad's forces are maintaining pressure on Eastern Ghouta with arrests, military conscriptions and restricted food supplies months after the capture of the Damascus suburb in order to assert the government's grip over the former rebel stronghold.

But Jaish Khaled bin Walid, a local IS branch that controls a small corner in the southwest of the province, on the border with Jordan and close to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, is not included in that deal.

"It is a strategic and a symbolic win for the Syrian government".

Assad's forces, along with Russian troops, entered the city after an agreement with rebels, who surrendered in exchange for amnesty or safe passage to other rebel-held areas.

Syrian forces are seen in the Nasib border crossing with Jordan in Dara'a, Syria, July 7, 2018.

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A convoy of Russian military police was expected to enter the devastated area later on Thursday in the first such deployment inside the enclave where they were expected to set up observation posts and perform security duties.

Measures to implement the so-called reconciliation deal for rebel-held parts of the city had not yet been implemented, it said.

In retaliation, the government and its ally Russian Federation pounded rebel-held areas in the coastal province of Latakia and neighbouring Idlib on Tuesday, killing four civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

However, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that a Daesh-affiliated terrorist group had seized a village in southern Syria from militants who had agreed to hand back the area under their control to Damascus, a Britain-based monitor said Thursday.

Syria's official SANA news agency reported that Tafas residents had welcomed the Syrian army units and participated in a ceremony to hoist the national flag over the city council.

"Eight regime and opposition fighters who recently reconciled were killed in a suicide vehicle bomb attack targeting a military position in Zaizun", said Rami Abdel Rahman, who heads the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Assad's flag raised in birthplace of Syrian uprising