DARAA, Syria

Due to continuing attacks by the Bashar-al-Assad regime, 80% of nearly 50,000 civilians living in targeted neighborhoods of Daraa, southwestern Syria, left their homes and migrated to other neighborhoods as talks for peace continue.

According to local sources, migration has been continuing for the last week in Daraa al-Balad, the adjacent Sad highway and Daraa camp neighborhoods because of the mortar and artillery attacks by the regime forces on the city center.

Negotiations continue

The Reconciliation Center, which represents the people in Daraa, and the regime continued negotiations under the mediation of Russia.

During the talks, the regime side wanted people living in Daraa al-Balad to surrender all their weapons, let the houses be searched and surrender some of the armed opposition members.

However, people opposed the demands of the regime, which wants to strengthen its control of the besieged neighborhood.

Daraa, known as the birthplace of the Syrian revolution, was an opposition stronghold until 2018.

The Assad forces and Iranian-backed militia launched a ground operation in the neighborhood on July 29, triggering clashes that spread across the countryside, killing 15 civilians.

Daraa al-Balad was blockaded by the regime forces on June 25 after residents, including former members of the Syrian opposition, resisted an order to surrender light weapons and allow regime forces to search houses.

According to the Reconciliation Center and local figures, the order was opposed because it violated terms of the Russian-mediated 2018 deal, under which residents and ex-opposition members had to surrender all heavy weapons.

The deal allowed thousands of rebels and civilians safe passage to other opposition-held regions, while Russia-backed regime forces launched an attack to reclaim Daraa.

The regime began its military action despite agreeing last week to lift the blockade.

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