Free Syrian Army spokesman, Ibrahim Jabawi, reported to CNN on Friday that both Russia and Syrian rebel groups have agreed upon a temporary ceasefire in Daraa. According to Jabawi, this agreement “will allow hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians to return home.”
After weeks of fighting a Syrian regime influenced and supported by Russia, who aim to recapture the province, around 320,000 people have been displaced in Daraa. While Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has managed to recapture most of the remaining rebel territories, Dara persists as one of the few rebel cities left in Syria.
The Daraa agreement, however, also allows Russia to control the border between Syria and Jordan, and already, “Syrian Arab Republic flags were raised over the Naseeb border crossing to Jordan, according to state-run news agency SANA.”
Further commenting on the new agreement, Jabawi remarked, “We are dealing one step at a time. This is the start, and negotiations will continue.”
The conflict, commonly known as the Syrian Civil War, started back in 2011, and since then millions of Syrians have either been displaced or have become refugees. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees recently reported that around “6.2 million Syrians have been displaced since the conflict began” and another “6.3 million have fled the country as refugees.”
UNICEF also reported that 65 children have been killed so far in the last three weeks of military conflict. In a press release on Friday, the organization commented that “violence has significantly intensified” since June 18. Furthermore, UNICEF noted, “In the largest wave of displacement to hit southern Syria since the start of the seven-year-long war, an estimated 180,000 children have been forced to flee their homes with little resource for protection, shelter or assistance.” While both Jordan and Israel have provided aid to Syrian refugees, they remain unwilling to currently provide shelter and refuge inside their borders.
Several international humanitarian organizations have been urging Jordan to reopen their borders to Syrian refugees within the past week. Jordan received refugees up until 2016 when an ISIS suicide attack killed six border guards. Just days ago, the Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International, Lynn Maalouf, disclosed, “Daraa residents are effectively trapped — many of those who are displaced are living in makeshift tents in the searing heat with insufficient food, water or medical care, and with the constant fear of being exposed to attacks at any given point. Jordan’s border is their only gateway to safety.”