RUSSIA-SYRIA-DARAA-ROADMAP-ARAB-WORLD-NEWS
A Free Syrian Army fighter stands in guard before Iftar (breaking fast) during the Muslim month of Ramadan in the province of Daraa, Syria May 30,2017 (REUTERS/ Alaa al-Faqir)

Daraa Governorate in southern Syria is awaiting what will happen in the coming days, after Russia put forward a so-called “road map” to settle the file of the region as a whole, and the “neighborhoods of the country” in particular.

The map, which was received by the central committees representing the residents, on Sunday, has faced, during the past hours, rejecting reactions, on the grounds that its provisions are in the interest of the Syrian regime and its security and military objectives, according to activists, journalists, and a tribal dignitary.

The implementation of the terms of the “map” will begin in stages, starting from the 15th of August and until the end of next September, as a whole, leading to the restoration of the security and military authority of the Syrian regime over the southern regions.

According to the copy obtained by The Eastern Herald, the map stipulates the delivery of heavy, medium, and light weapons in the hands of a number of fighters in the area, after which a “security settlement will be made to the militants.”

Parallel to the foregoing, the map included an item “exiting the militants to the de-escalation zone, searching for wanted persons whose status has not been settled, and conducting searches for weapons and ammunition in Daraa al-Balad.”

It is scheduled to organize joint patrols of the security services of the Syrian regime and the Russian military police in the “neighborhoods of the country”, to move later to settle the situation of the defectors and send them to military units, and to set up checkpoints in the vicinity of Daraa, in order to organize the passage of civilians.

The spokesman for the Central Committees, Adnan al-Masalmeh, says that the publication of the provisions of the road map from their side “does not mean that they have been approved yet.”

He added in statements to The Eastern Herald: “We are the most rejecting any item that affects the security and dignity of our people and our youth, and that the items proposed by the Russian side are subject to consultation and deliberation for all.”

Humiliating clauses

What the “Russian road map” included is very similar to the conditions set by the Syrian regime’s security committee, since the beginning of the escalation in southern Syria, nearly two months ago.

At that time, the regime’s committee demanded that all light and medium weapons be handed over, and that military points be installed in the neighborhoods of Daraa al-Balad, emphasizing the necessity of removing those who refuse to do so to the areas of northern Syria.

There are no clear indications of what the coming days will be like in southern Syria, whether by starting to implement the terms of the “map” as it is, accepting it with amendments, or rejecting it completely, which means a return of escalation and tension again.

Abu Ali al-Mahamid, one of the notables of Daraa governorate, told The Eastern Herald: “The road map was drawn up by the Syrian regime because it does not include any clause for the benefit of the people.

Mahamid, who resides in Daraa al-Balad, adds: “It is very difficult to accept it. People do not agree with it and it is impossible to do so. No one will accept it and there are unfair items included in the map.”

Mahamid, who was familiar with all the past negotiating sessions, indicated that the Russian map included conditions that “those who complain about economic and social life in Daraa will be held accountable. It is not a map, but rather conditions for humiliating the people.”

While there has been no comment from the Russian side until now, media outlets close to the Syrian regime confirmed everything that was mentioned in the terms of the map published by the central committees representing the people.

In its issue issued on Monday, the semi-official Al-Watan newspaper said that the “road map” includes the collection of all weapons in southern Syria, and the deportation of security-wanted persons to northern Syria.

The newspaper added, quoting sources, which it described as a “informed document”, that the Russian map also requires the return of the “Syrian state” departments and institutions to all regions of the south.

Not many solutions

During the past two months, Russia demonstrated its presence in all the negotiation sessions held between representatives of the Syrian regime and representatives of the central committees.

At first, a Russian officer named “Assad Allah” took over the task, to be succeeded by another named “Andrei.” According to previous statements by the spokesman for the Central Committees, Adnan Al-Masalmeh, the latter was recently appointed as responsible for the file of southern Syria.

Opposition activist Omar al-Hariri from the Daraa Martyrs Documentation Office says that there is a rejection of the Russian map from several sides in Daraa.

But he adds afterward: “The problem is that there are not many solutions in the hands of the central committees.”

In an interview with arab media, Al-Hariri indicated that there is a state of fear that “the Russian side will exploit the state of rejection that its map met. The rejection may lead to a new escalation in the region.”

During the past hours, there was talk that the “only solution” in Daraa is to displace the entire population of Daraa al-Balad neighborhoods. The opposition activist continues: “It is a clause included in the Russian road map that anyone who rejects it must leave to northern Syria.”

Hariri added: “There is also a fear that there will be no consensus to leave en masse to the north of Syria. The situation is very confused until now.”

Things are getting worse

Meanwhile, families in the neighborhoods of Daraa al-Balad, numbering 11,000, are living in difficult living conditions, according to what the United Nations indicated in a report issued on July 30, during which it said that what is happening in southern Syria at the present time has led to the deaths of civilians and the displacement of thousands of people. from the region.

The families are distributed among several neighborhoods: the neighborhood of the Golan IDPs camp, the Palestinian refugee camp, the Al-Sad Road neighborhood, the farms in the areas of Shiah, Al-Nakhla, Al-Rahiya and Al-Khawani.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) published a report on Sunday, in which it said that the siege on Daraa has displaced more than half of the 600 Palestinian families.

According to the agency’s report: “Today, three thousand people in the Daraa camp in southern Syria suffer from a lack of medicine and food, including bread, coinciding with the lack of water and electricity in the camp.”

UNRWA expressed its concern for the lives of Palestinian refugees, due to their inability to access the services it provides, especially after the closure of its health clinic since the beginning of August.

Writer and journalist, Muhammad Al-Awaid sees the current situation in Daraa governorate as “problematic, and it reveals greater contradictions than expected.”

Al-Owaid said in statements to The Eastern Herald “In the past days, we have been trying to approach reality and the Russian intervention as a guarantor of the 2018 agreement. But after the leakage of the provisions of the roadmap, there is a great shock about the Russian position.”

The writer and journalist explains that the first problem with the “road map” is that it “includes humiliation and the Russian bias towards the Syrian regime and its Iranian ally, more than playing the role of a mediator trying to pacify the problems and cool the atmosphere.”

Al-Owaid notes: “The situation is problematic, and we may witness in the coming hours or days dramatic changes in southern Syria, whether at the local level or the Hauran region in general.”

In his view: “If the next rounds of negotiation sessions do not result in some reassurances, things will turn for the worse. There is a danger that the Russian scale in Daraa could extend to the rest of the areas of the Syrian map, especially in northern Syria. Messages are from Daraa, but the target is all areas.”.

Nothing

For his part, Abu Ali al-Mahamid, one of the notables of Daraa, does not expect “anything” specific about what will result from the developments of the coming days.

He says: “The committee that negotiated with the Russians and the Assad regime does not have political statesmanship and is unable to manage the crisis,” adding: “What is happening now is not negotiation, but rather the implementation of the provisions of the roadmap, and the Central Committee has been involved in implementing that. This committee must be changed, because it does not You can manage the crisis.

The international community had previously condemned the Syrian regime’s escalation in Daraa. On August 4, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken called on the Assad regime to stop the attack immediately.

While the European Union called for the protection of civilians, the Canadian Foreign Ministry also called for a ceasefire in Daraa and all Syrian territory, noting that “the people of Daraa have the right to live in safety.”

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