Small Wars Journal

Syria: If Daraa Falls, Could It Be the End of the Civil War?

Syria: If Daraa Falls, Could It Be the End of the Civil War? By Tracey Shelton - ABC (Australia) News Analysis

… Daraa province and its capital of the same name lies on the Jordanian border.

This rebel stronghold that includes parts of Quneitra province stretches all the way to the Golan Heights — an area of Syrian territory held by Israel since the Six-Day War in 1967.

It is the last remnant of opposition to the government in Syria's south.

The US, Russia and Jordan agreed last year to include Daraa as part of a "de-escalation zone", but after dropping leaflets by air across the area warning of an imminent offensive and urging insurgents to lay down their arms, Syrian planes began dropping barrel bombs on populated areas on June 21…

Washington cautioned it would take "firm and appropriate measures" to protect the ceasefire in southern Syria.

But ceasefire agreements and international warnings were no deterrent when the Syrian government launched an offensive on Eastern Ghouta in February.

More than 1,700 civilians were killed in the eight-week offensive.

Evacuation deals saw rebels and civilians put in buses and driven to rebel-held territory in northern Syria

"We've got more to go but this is irreversible now."

The focus for Damascus is now on rebuilding the economy and resuming foreign trade, a priority which Mr Lister says will put the military focus heavily on regaining Daraa's border crossing with Jordan.

Aside from this southern pocket, the only other significant patches of Syria left outside of government hands are the rebel stronghold of Idlib, Turkish-backed rebel areas surrounding Afrin and the Kurdish region — held by sometimes Assad-allied Kurdish forces backed by the US…

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