Daraa Province, The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: the cease-fire still holds in accordance with the Russian-American-Jordanian agreement that was put into effect 24 hours ago, specifically at 12 pm yesterday 17th of June 2017. The SOHR learned that the calm is still prevailing in the city of Daraa since yesterday. There was only an exchange of fire between the regime forces and the factions in addition to the dropping of a number of shells at midnight yesterday. The first hour of the implementation of the agreement which was put into effect at 12 pm on June 17, also witnessed the dropping of a number of shells by the regime forces on areas in Daraa Al-Balad and a number of raids by the warplanes targeting areas in the vicinity of Daraa Camp and areas in Daraa city.
This prevailing calm came as a result of the agreement after the city had witnessed the fiercest battles since the implementation of the “de-escalation zones” agreement on the 6th of May 2017 between the regime forces, their allied militiamen and Lebanese Hezbollah on one hand and the rebel and Islamic factions and fighters of Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham on the other in areas in Daraa al-Balad and in the vicinity of Daraa camp from the 3rd till the afternoon of the 17th of June 2017. These battles were accompanied by the most violent escalation ever witnessed by Daraa for months as the regime forces, warplanes and helicopters launched more than 2000 raids, barrel bombs, missiles- believed to be ground to ground- and rocket and artillery shells on Daraa city, causing huge destruction in the infrastructure, and in the buildings and houses of civilians. Civilian casualties were reported and tens of fighters of the factions and members of the regime forces were killed in these battles.
The SOHR also observed caution exercised by the factions regarding the implementation of this agreement at this time, especially that the agreement is only valid for 48 hours and came after an intense shelling on the city and after the arrival of military reinforcements brought by the regime forces to take part in the battle of Daraa. This battle, that broke out in Daraa city since the 3rd of June 2017, is considered the third violent battle witnessed by the City since the beginning of the last month and is also considered the most violent battle since the implementation of the cease-fire agreement in the “de-escalation zones” extending from the Syrian north, which includes Idlib Province, the northern countryside of Homs and Hama and Damascus Ghouta, to the Syrian south on the 6th of May. There was a battle on the 22nd of May and another on the 17th of the same month accompanied by tens of raids and rocket and artillery shelling from both sides. It is also worth mentioning that the rebel and Islamic factions and Hayyaat Tahrir Al-Sham launched on the first half of February 2017 the battle of “Death over Humiliation” which aims at taking control of Daraa Al-Balad in Daraa city. These factions were able to make huge progress and take control of blocks of buildings and sites of the regime forces. Dozens of fighters from both sides lost their lives during these clashes and the shelling that accompanied them.