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5 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Face tough surrender terms or attack

Syria rebels in south warned
AFP
Face tough surrender terms or  attack
A picture taken yesterday from the Israeli-annexed Syrian Golan Heights shows displaced Syrians from the province of Daraa staging a protest calling for international protection, in Syrian the village of al-Rafid, near the border fence with Israel. AFP PHOTO

BEIRUT: Syrian rebels were facing a deadline yesterday in negotiations with regime ally Russia to either agree to tough surrender terms in the south or come under a renewed military onslaught, reports AFP.

Moscow has been backing a two-week offensive by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces against rebels in the southern provinces of Daraa and Quneitra.

But it is simultaneously brokering talks with rebel towns for negotiated surrenders in a carrot-and-stick strategy that Russia and the regime have successfully used in the past.

More than 30 towns have already agreed to return to regime control and talks were focused on remaining rebel territory in Daraa's western countryside and the southern half of the city.

Rebels were set to meet with a Russian delegation on Wednesday afternoon to deliver their decision on Moscow's proposal for a regime takeover of the rest of the south, a spokesman for the opposition's southern operations said.

Ibrahim Jabbawi told AFP that rebels were "now discussing its content with key figures and fighters in the south on whether to return to the negotiating table."

"We hope to reach an agreement so that the displaced can return home and the fighting can stop," Jabbawi said.

A source close to the talks said the meeting would take place at 4:00 pm local time (1300 GMT). It follows a tense hours-long meeting on Tuesday.

In that session, rebels proposed a ceasefire, the army's withdrawal from towns it had already taken, and safe passage to opposition territory elsewhere for fighters or civilians refusing to live under regime control.

But Moscow roundly rejected the terms, the source said, and responded with a counter-proposal.

It told negotiators that population transfers were not on the table in the south, although it had agreed to them in other areas like Eastern Ghouta and Aleppo.

Russia insisted the army would return to its pre-2011 positions, and local police would take over towns in coordination with Russian military police.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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