Russia has been mediating a new deal to end the recent fighting in Daraa under which opposition groups who reject the deal will have to leave the region.

A picture shows Russian troops in the Syrian district of Daraa al Balad in Syria's southern province of Daraa, on August 24, 2021.
A picture shows Russian troops in the Syrian district of Daraa al Balad in Syria's southern province of Daraa, on August 24, 2021. (AFP)

Syrian regime forces have shelled opposition-held parts of a volatile southern city, killing at least one person, while rebels killed four soldiers after Russia-brokered talks to end the presence of opposition fighters in the area collapsed.

Syrian media reported that regime forces retaliated against fire by opposition fighters inside the city of Daraa and that attacks on army checkpoints in the city left four soldiers dead and 15 wounded. 

It said several civilians were wounded in rebel shelling of regime-held parts of Daraa.

The opposition blamed the regime for the escalation, saying that troops were pressing an offensive to force opposition groups to surrender.

At least one person was killed and another wounded in shelling on Daraa al Balad, according to the opposition’s Syrian civil defence, also known as the White Helmets.

Russian-brokered deal

Russia has been mediating a new deal to end the recent fighting in Daraa under which opposition groups who reject the deal will have to leave the region.

Last week, Syrian regime authorities ordered about 100 gunmen to leave Daraa al Balad. A few left to rebel-held areas in the north, but dozens defied the order and stayed.

As part of the deal, regime forces were supposed to enter Daraa al Balad after the departure of the hardcore opposition gunmen.

Other rebels who accept the deal would have to hand over their weapons in return for amnesty.

READ MORE: Assad regime kills civilians in Syria's Daraa after rebels repel attack

Amnesty urges Syrian regime to lift 'siege'

On Friday, rights group Amnesty International urged the Syrian regime to immediately allow humanitarian aid into a rebel holdout under regime "siege".

"The Syrian regime must immediately lift the siege to facilitate unfettered access for humanitarian organisations and allow the medical evacuation of the sick and injured," said Amnesty's Syria researcher Diana Semaan.

She called on all sides to "grant safe passage to civilians wanting to flee the area".

From revolution to war

Daraa province became known as the cradle of the uprising against Syria's Bashar al Assad that erupted in 2011 as part of the Arab Spring revolts.

It was recaptured by Syrian regime troops in 2018. 

Assad has since regained control of most of the country with the help of Russia and Iran.

The Russian-mediated deal in 2018 allowed some of the province’s armed opposition to remain in their former strongholds, in charge of security. 

Regime troops retained control of the province, but security duties were divided. 

Tensions regularly erupted and regime troops tried several times to take over areas under opposition control.

READ MORE: Siege: Desperation in Syria’s Daraa as Assad reverts to his old ways

Source: TRTWorld and agencies