Government troops pound Daraa after rebel attack
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.