Ceasefire Called Between Rebels And Syrian Government At Deraa

With the taking of the Nasib Crossing, a ceasefire agreement between Syrian government and rebel forces has finally been declared. The ceasefire was heralded by the approach of armoured cars heading toward the Nasib-Jaber border that bore flags from both Syrian and Russian forces. Hours earlier, Rebel fighters reached an agreement with Russian negotiators in the Deraa province. The terms of the agreement entail that government forces would not only give the rebel forces the opportunity to safely return to the northern Syrian territories such as Idlib, but the government would withdraw from four villages in the region: Kahil, al-Sahwa, al-Jiza and al-Misaifra. In return, Rebel forces would be expected to surrender their heavy weapons.

The news of this development has been well-received by those wishing an end to the on-going conflict. Jumana Ghunaimat, spokeswoman for the Jordan government, said in an interview with Al-Jazeera, “The solution in Syria is political, not military. The war and more fighting won’t stop the struggles of the Syrian people.” Rami Abdel Rahman, Chief of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights was much more positive about the developments, reporting that “More than 20,000 people have set off for home so far, heading to areas for which an accord has been reached in the south-eastern Daraa countryside.”

In securing this agreement, Russia and Opposing forces have ensured the return to the Nasib-Jaber border region by those Syrians that have been displaced across the Jordan border by the fighting. In a report by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) there have been as many as 320,000 people displaced by the ongoing conflict, with 60,000 currently camped on the Nasib-Jaber border crossing at Jordan. With the deployment of Russian military forces along the border, these displaced individuals will have an opportunity to safely return across the border without fear of attack. This guarantee of safety from the ceasefire has already seen the beginnings of an exodus from Jordan, which will likely see an increase in the coming weeks.

Before the agreement to a ceasefire, the state of Jordan had closed its northern border in response to growing violence in the region across their border and the substantial number of refugee’s that their state had taken in following the outbreak of fighting. Both the Russian armed forces and the rebel forces were convinced to finally talk after Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi called for Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, to enter into talks for a potential ceasefire agreement. After the claiming of the Nasib crossing by the Syrian and Russian forces, the negotiations were instigated, and the ceasefire was declared.

The ceasefire between the rebel forces means that the mounting refugee crisis can begin to be resolved, thus easing the load on the neighbouring Jordan and begin the process of rebuilding and repopulating the region. However, as Jumana Ghunaimat stated, there are still more struggles ahead for the nation. The reclamation of the border crossing has brought forward talks of re-instituting old Trade routes that had been previously been rendered unusable by the taking of the crossing three years earlier. However, the continued presence of Russian forces and Syrian military within the region means that the regions troubles are still not yet over and there is still much more to be done on the road to recovery.

Joshua Robinson