Syrian Troops Celebrate Recapture of Border Crossing

Syrian Troops Celebrate Recapture of Border Crossing

Syrian soldiers are celebrating the recapture of the main border crossing with Jordan, raising portraits of President Bashar Assad and tearing down rebel flags.

A Syrian officer, who was among the troops that fought their way to the crossing, told Xinhua at the crossing Saturday that the army fully secured Nasib after defeating the rebels in nearby villages.

On Friday, rebel negotiators said that they were on the verge of a deal that would see them surrender their heavy weapons in return for a cease-fire and, for some, safe passage to the country's final opposition-held area in the north.

"We are stuck here and God only knows what the regime will be doing now", he said by telephone, with the sounds of children around him. "They have no future anymore, God willing".

Nassib is a strategic crossing for Syria and Jordan. It can not ignore Israel's security concerns and Moscow's attempts to relink Israel's security to the presence of Syrian regime forces on the border. Government buildings also bore the marks of fighting and shelling.

The Syrian army and a rebel group in the southern province of Deraa have accused each other of breaching a ceasefire deal agreed two days ago.

The border crossing had been under rebel control for more than three years. Broken glass littered streets lined with bombed out houses.

The reporter said that the army units started securing Daraa worldwide highway towards Naseeb border by combing the highway's both sides and removing the barriers set up by terrorist groups.

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The recapture of Naseeb in Daraa marks the return of Assad's forces to the province where the uprising against him began seven years ago, following successive military victories across most of the country with the help of powerful allies Russian Federation and Iran.

Friday's deal follows a string of similar accords with rebels for other areas of Syria, which have seen the government retake more than 60 percent of the country, according to the Observatory.

Russian guarantees will also be extended to rebel fighters who wish to "settle their status" with the government.

By entering al-Nuaima town on the outskirts of the city of Daraa from the east direction, the army units have achieved a new step to restore security and stability to Daraa eastern countryside and end the terrorist presence there, SANA reporter said.

Recent statistics, released by the United Nations Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), said the total number of the displaced people in Daraa reached more than 320,000.

Mr Assad is also aiming to recover control of rebel-held areas of Quneitra province at the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Dozens have been killed.

About 20,000 civilians had begun returning to their homes Friday evening, according to the pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The details of this passage are expected to be discussed in the coming weeks. The Syrian flag flew in the distance, along with what appeared to be a Russian flag.

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