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Washington urges southern rebels to escape 'Ghouta fate'

Local | 2018-04-16 19:39:00
Washington urges southern rebels to escape 'Ghouta fate'
(Zaman Al Wasl)- The U.S. embassy in Amman warned the key rebel alliance in southern Syria of taking any military action against the regime forces may undermine the U.S.-Russian brokered de-escalation zone agreement, a Saudi daily reported.

According to the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, a letter was sent by the US Embassy in Amman to the Southern Front, in which the embassy  asserted that rebels should give to regime army any pretext to end the ceasefire agreement which reached last July.

"As a guarantor of the de-escalation agreement, we do not want to see the regime taking your territory in the south. We want to preserve your right to demand a state of freedom and justice, so we ask you to take full care not to give the regime and its allies any chance to attack you or launch an attack in Daraa and Quneitra similar to what it happened in the Eastern Ghouta," the US embassy said in a statement.

"If you engage in military action that violates the de-escalation  agreement, we can not defend you. If the regime breaches the agreement, we will do our utmost to stop the violation and ensure the continuation of the  de-escalation agreement." 

The warnings to the Southern Front coincide with the regime mobilization at the gate of Daraa in order to launch a sweeping attack on city.

Sources told Zaman al-Wasl last March that Russia had warned the regime of launching any attack on rebels in southern Syria, saying it will not provide the aerial backup if regime insists to violate the ceasefire deal.

Commanders form the Russian army met with the regime military officers in the Ninth Division base in Al-Sanamayn town where they delivered a message saying 'no offensive is welcome again rebels in southern Daraa province,' according to the sources. 

The warning by Moscow and Washington followed clashes erupted since March 12 when the regime jets struck rebel-held towns. The first aerial attacks on the area since the United States and Russia brokered "de-escalation zone" last July.

Russia, which backs the Assad regime, and the United States, which has backed rebel forces seeking to topple Assad, met secretly in Jordan in June and announced a ceasefire in Syria's southwest a month later.

The truce had reduced fighting there and was meant to lead to a longer-lasting de-escalation, a step towards a full settlement.

The southern area around Daraa province is one of three main parts of the country where large populations are still under the control of rebels opposed to Bashar Assad, along with a northern area near the Turkish border and the eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of Damascus.
 
Rebels have long feared regime army will return to attack them once it has consolidated gains in the north and other areas. rebels say the de-escalation zones free up Syria's army to make territorial gains elsewhere.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 11 million made homeless in Syria's multi-sided civil war. The government has made huge territorial gains since Russia joined the fighting on the side of Assad in 2015.
Zaman Al Wasl
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