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US condemns regime's 'brutal assault' on Syria's Daraa

August 4, 2021 at 8:36 pm

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Kuwait City on 29 July 2021 [Jaber Abdulkhaleg/Anadolu Agency]

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken sharply condemned on Wednesday the Assad regime’s “brutal assault” on the southwestern Syrian city of Daraa, Anadolu Agency reports.

Blinken called “for an immediate end to the violence, which has killed civilians and displaced thousands suffering from shortages of food and medication.”

“We reiterate calls for a nationwide ceasefire in line with UNSCR 2254,” he wrote on Twitter.

The Syrian regime renewed its attacks on Daraa al-Balad following the failure of Russian-led mediation talks between the regime and opposition forces, a local group said Tuesday.

Daraa, known as the birthplace of the Syrian revolution, is home to 40,000 residents and was an opposition stronghold until 2018.

READ: Syria opposition captures Assad regime checkpoints, tank and Jordan border crossing

On July 29, regime forces and Iranian-backed militia launched a ground operation in the Daraa al-Balad neighborhood, triggering clashes that spread across the countryside. Fifteen civilians have been killed.

Daraa al-Balad was blockaded by regime forces on June 25 after residents, including former members of the Syrian opposition, resisted an order to surrender light weapons and allow regime forces to search houses.

According to the Reconciliation Center and local figures, the order was opposed because it violated the terms of the Russian-mediated 2018 deal, under which residents and ex-opposition members had to surrender all heavy weapons.

The deal allowed thousands of rebels and civilians safe passage to other opposition-held regions, while Russia-backed regime forces launched an attack to reclaim Daraa.

The regime began its military action despite agreeing last week to lift the blockade.

READ: Syria’s Assad killed more than 30 people in Daraa since December