Multiple towns in Daraa surrender to Syrian government

After the 12-hour truce agreed to yesterday failed to produce a comprehensive agreement, multiple towns in Daraa governorate declared they were “reconciling” with the Syrian government. Popular demonstrations arose in the towns of Ibtaa, Dael, Al Karak, Umm Walad, Al Mushayrifah, Taybah, Jizah, and Busra al-Sham calling for rebels to leave and for the Syrian Army to enter the towns. The Syrian Army was able to enter three of these towns (Al Karak, Al Mushayrifah, and Umm Walad), while Russian military police entered Ibtaa. Weapons and military equipment were surrendered by the rebels to the government in these locations. There are even reports that rebels in southern Daraa city are negotiating a possible reconciliation deal with the government.

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There is still a string of towns along the border with Jordan which have not surrendered to the government, although their position is becoming more untenable as more towns surrender. This will likely cause a ‘domino effect’ where town after town gives up as each town realizes their neighbor will not support them.

This wave of surrenders was prompted in part by the rapid Syrian Army advance over the last few days in eastern Daraa governorate. Rebel forces were unable to mount any counterattacks, and were not even able to put up an effective defense against the Army onslaught. Constant Russian airstrikes, numbering in the hundreds, also degraded rebel forces in the region. In addition, the United States and Jordan, two of the main backers of the Free Syrian Army’s Southern Front, recently withdrew their support after it became clear that there was no point to continuing to resist the Assad government.

Syrian Army units also launched a minor attack on a rebel-held air defense base west of Daraa city, which would have threatened rebel supply lines to the eastern part of the province. This attack did not succeed in capturing the airbase, as it was met with resistance by the rebels.

Update:

The Russian Air Force has struck the town of western Ghariyah five times minutes ago, while also striking eastern Ghariyah multiple times. This is certainly intended to pressure these towns to surrender to the Syrian government.

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This animation shows the progress of the Syrian government offensive over the past four days. The largest government gain by population occurred over the past 24 hours, even though very little fighting took place. Below is a video version of the same animation.
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