The newly-brokered reconciliation agreement in Daraa al-Balad, the southern part of the Syrian city of Daraa, has collapsed.
Syrian authorities and local leaders reached the agreement on July 24, following extensive talks sponsored by Russia. According to the available information, former rebels failed to honor their commitments.
Early on July 27, former rebels opened fire at a force of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) 4th Division that was entering Daraa al-Balad to establish pre-agreed upon posts. The SAA responded, as a result clashes broke out. Casualties were reported.
The clashes cooled down by the end of the day. Syrian authorities and local leaders met to save the agreement. Nevertheless, the situation escalated again on July 28, when clashes renewed around Daraa al-Balad.
In a statement, the leaders of former rebels stressed that they want a peaceful agreement. Yet, they said they were willing to accept an evacuation that would see all families in Daraa al-Balad leaving to opposition-held areas.
Syrian authorities have been pressuring Daraa al-Balad leaders to improve security measures in the area, not to displace the locals.
Under the last reconciliation agreement, former rebels in Daraa al-Balad promised to hand over their personal arms. Some weapons, including anti-tank rockets and heavy machine guns, were indeed handed over. However, much more are still in the hands of the locals.
The SAA, which deployed a large, heavily-armed strike force around Daraa al-Balad over the last few days, appears to be determined to impose its demands.
The current stand of Daraa al-Balad leaders, who failed to honor their commitments, is warring. The army is clearly ready to employ a military solution. Russia is reportedly in talks with both sides to resolve this crisis.
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