Syrian forces recapture Daraa, birthplace of Assad revolt

Syrian forces recaptured Daraa, the southwestern Syrian city where the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime was born in 2011, the government said Thursday.

Anti-government protesters hold the Syrian flags and candles at Shuhada or (Martyrs) Square in Swaeda in Daraa, Syria, on March 28, 2011. Syrian forces captured the city away from rebels Thursday. File Photo by Ali Bitar/UPI | License Photo
Anti-government protesters hold the Syrian flags and candles at Shuhada or (Martyrs) Square in Swaeda in Daraa, Syria, on March 28, 2011. Syrian forces captured the city away from rebels Thursday. File Photo by Ali Bitar/UPI | License Photo

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.
Under the terms of the deal, state-run media SANA news said the rebel groups agreed to hand over heavy and medium weapons. Those who refuse to cooperate would be evacuated.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Syrian troops also took over the towns of Tafas, Inkhil, Kafr Shams and al-Mzyrib. After troops raised the flag over the town of Tafas, north of Daraa city, residents tore it down along with photos of Assad, the organization said.

Daraa province was the birthplace of protests against Assad in March 2011, which ultimately led to the nation’s civil war. The regime’s recapture of portions of the province is not just symbolic, though — it’s close to main crossings into Jordan.

By Danielle Haynes