Gov­ern­ment troops pound Daraa af­ter rebel at­tack

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD -

BEIRUT | Syr­ian gov­ern­ment forces pounded parts of the south­ern city of Daraa with airstrikes and ar­tillery fire, ac­tivists re­ported Sun­day, one day af­ter rebels at­tacked gov­ern­ment po­si­tions in the south­ern city.

Much of Daraa has been re­duced to rub­ble and the two sides are ex­chang­ing fire through the shells of build­ings, ac­cord­ing to footage re­leased by Syr­ian mil­i­tary me­dia and the al Qaeda-linked Abaa News Agency over the week­end.

Lo­cal op­po­si­tion ac­tivist Ahmad al-Masalmeh recorded 90 mis­sile and bomb strikes by gov­ern­ment forces by the af­ter­noon. Syr­ian mil­i­tary me­dia footage showed clouds of smoke and dust ris­ing over the city.

At least 31 fighters have been killed in the clashes since late Fri­day, with fa­tal­i­ties distributed nearly evenly be­tween the two sides, ac­cord­ing to the Bri­tain-based Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights mon­i­tor­ing group.

The fight­ing has un­der­scored the frailty of the “de-es­ca­la­tion” agree­ment bro­kered by Rus­sia, Turkey and Iran one month ago. The three pow­ers are sup­posed to guar­an­tee cease-fires across four zones in Syria, in­clud­ing Daraa.

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