Syrian Government Takes Over Rebel-Controlled City of Deraa

The Syrian government has continued its efforts to take over Deraa. Syrian troops are currently entering the rebel-occupied portion of the city. President Bashar al-Assad previously stated his intentions to take back this part of the city, which subsequently caused controversy among the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. al-Assad’s troops were supported by the Russian military police and, according to news reports, they quickly raised the national flag over the zone.

Rebels in the city did not resist al-Assad’s forces, and agreed to leave as long as they had a chance to move to the North peacefully. Rebel forces currently hold the North, and Deraa’s rebels plan to move there after sustaining weeks of attacks by the Syrian government.

According to the United Nations, 230,000 people have been displaced after the fighting in Deraa and have attempted to take refuge in nearby provinces.

Deraa’s importance stems from its location as the birthplace of the Syrian civil war. It is also strategically located near the border of Jordan.

Uprisings in Syria began in 2011, when two teens painted anti-government statements on their school’s walls. The teens were subsequently captured and tortured by the Syrian government. Protests calling for al-Assad’s resignation quickly swept the nation.

Russia provided Syria with military support which turned out to be critical to the capture of Deraa. The U.S. government warned the rebels against launching an offensive.

Rebels attempted to seek asylum in Israel and Jordan. Both denied these requests.

The United Nations declared the rebels’ escape a humanitarian crisis.

Some rebel towns in Deraa agreed to a military truce with Russia before the main rebel factions opened negotiations for a complete deal. Russia stated that it would allow rebel citizens to depart for the Idlib and Aleppo provinces peacefully.

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood was quick to state that it opposed al-Assad’s intentions to take over Deraa, saying that this would bring more violence and abuse upon the Syrian people. The Brotherhood stated that al-Assad wants to be able to rule over the country without taking accountability for his actions. al-Assad is well-known for causing the death of several thousands of Syrian individuals and for his harsh policing methods and policies.

A spokesperson for the Brotherhood stated that other countries are openly refusing to support Syria, and that if actual military measures were taken against al-Assad, he would have been overthrown years ago. He also concluded that, if the Syrian people want al-Assad to resign, they themselves must fight as other countries are not willing to help.

The spokesperson stated:

The tolerance of the United States and Israel with the crimes committed by Bashar al-Assad will not contribute to stability in the region. The revolution of the Syrian people aims to end oppression and gain freedom. What is happening in Syria is a violation of the values of freedom and human rights that America preaches around the world. The American administration should not remain silent in the face of the crimes committed by the regime.”

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons